in

Altman Reveals Changes at OpenAI, with Microsoft Getting a Non-Voting Board Seat


Sam Altman and Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella
Sam Altman and Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella

With Sam Altman back as OpenAI’s CEO and most of its former board of directors gone, many expected to see major changes at the company. But in a memo to employees that was released to the public today, Altman said that it was business as usual at OpenAI and that Microsoft, its biggest investor, would continue to have no say over its strategy or decision-making processes.

“I have never been more excited about the future,” he wrote in the memo, which dates back to last Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving. “I am sure books are going to be written about this time period, and I hope the first thing they say is how amazing the entire team has been. Now that we’re through all of this, we didn’t lose a single employee. You stood firm for each other, this company, and our mission. One of the most important things for the team that builds AGI [Artificial General Intelligence] safely is the ability to handle stressful and uncertain situations, and maintain good judgment throughout.”

Altman went on to thank Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, CTO Kevin Scott, CFO Amy Hood, and president Brad Smith for their support before, during, and after his ouster, for having “exactly the right priorities” and for its promise to hire Altman and any and all other OpenAI employees had his reinstatement fallen through. But then he casually dropped the bomb: Microsoft, which owns 49 percent of OpenAI’s for-profit subsidiary but has never had any decision-making rights, would continue in its outsider role despite having new representation on OpenAI’s board.

Windows Intelligence In Your Inbox

Sign up for our new free newsletter to get three time-saving tips each Friday — and get free copies of Paul Thurrott’s Windows 11 and Windows 10 Field Guides (normally $9.99) as a special welcome gift!

*” indicates required fields

“We clearly made the right choice to partner with Microsoft and I’m excited that our new board will include them as a non-voting observer,” he added. Altman also revealed that OpenAI’s new board will work to expand to include more members, and not just someone representing Microsoft. And that OpenAI would “enhance” its bizarre governance model—which was what enabled the old board to fire Altman in the first place—in such a way that its users, customers, employees, partners, and community members can trust that the company will continue to succeed. We will also convene “an independent committee of the Board to oversee a review of the recent events.”


Evaluate large language models for quality and responsibility

Evaluate large language models for quality and responsibility

Good news, startups: Q3 software results are changing the tech narrative

Good news, startups: Q3 software results are changing the tech narrative