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Updated Nov 21, 2023, 6:51pm EST
tech

Wide search for new OpenAI directors underway as part of talks to bring Sam Altman back

Reuters/Carlos Barria
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The News

A wide search for new OpenAI board members is taking place as part of talks to possibly bring back Sam Altman as CEO, people familiar with the matter said.

Airbnb CEO Brian Chesky, a close friend of Altman’s, and other executives in Silicon Valley are advising Altman in discussions with OpenAI’s board, which ousted the company’s leader on Friday.

The group has reached out to a large list of people in tech, including former Salesforce co-CEO Bret Taylor, entrepreneur Eric Ries, and former Congressman and ex-presidential candidate Will Hurd, who was previously on the board of OpenAI.

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It’s unclear, however, if enough progress has been made for Altman to return. After similar talks this past weekend collapsed, Altman said Sunday he was joining Microsoft, which sparked a mutiny among OpenAI employees, with nearly all of them threatening to quit if he wasn’t rehired.

The workers have demanded that the board resign and that Altman, along with OpenAI ex-President Greg Brockman, be reinstated. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella told CNBC on Monday he wanted to partner with Altman in whatever form that takes, but governance changes would be needed at OpenAI.

Journalist Kara Swisher first reported some of the details about the director search.

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— Gina Chon contributed to this report

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Know More

The meltdown at OpenAI, which had been the hottest startup in the world as the maker of ChatGPT, has captivated the tech industry since the drama publicly began on Friday.

The unpredictability has been exacerbated by OpenAI’s unusual structure in which the board of the nonprofit parent oversees the for-profit entity that is partners with Microsoft.

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