Twitch co-founder Emmett Shear appointed interim CEO of OpenAI amidst internal strife

OpenAI is navigating a turbulent period marked by a significant leadership shake-up.

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Following the unexpected dismissal of OpenAI co-founder and CEO Sam Altman, the company’s board has named Emmett Shear, co-founder of Twitch, as the interim CEO. The unexpected move has deepened divisions within the company, leading to protests from investors, including Microsoft, and numerous employees who rallied for Altman’s reinstatement as CEO.

Altman’s sacking took a surprising turn when he returned to the company offices, seemingly on track to regain his position. However, hopes were dashed when co-founder and board member Ilya Sutskever announced Shear’s appointment as interim CEO. This development has raised further concerns about the future of OpenAI, as many staff members are now contemplating their positions and expressing anguish on social media.

Shear’s appointment presents challenges in maintaining investor support, particularly from venture firms such as Thrive Capital, Khosla Ventures, and Sequoia Capital, who had advocated for Altman’s return. Additionally, a plan to sell up to $1 billion in employee stock, with Thrive Capital leading the tender offer, is now uncertain.

The decision to dismiss Altman was based on claims that he had not been ‘completely candid’. The board cited a loss of trust, alleging that Altman had leveraged his influence to shape narratives and sway influential individuals for personal gain. The lack of transparency ultimately became untenable for the board, resulting in Altman’s dismissal.