95% of OpenAI workers have threatened to quit if Sam Altman is not reinstated as CEO

  • Nearly the entire OpenAI staff has threatened to quit and join Sam Altman at Microsoft.

  • They signed a letter that also calls on the board to resign after they "undermined our company."

  • It follows days of chaos at OpenAI after CEO Sam Altman was fired in a shock move.

Nearly all OpenAI staff members have threatened to quit unless all board members resign and ex-CEO Sam Altman is reappointed, according to the latest count of staffers who have signed a letter demanding his return.

The number of employees who have signed has been rising through the day on Monday — and now includes nearly all of OpenAI's workforce of 770, according to a tally by a reporter at CBS News.

In the letter to the board, OpenAI employees — including CTO Mira Murati and COO Brad Lightcap — said that the firing of Altman had "jeopardized all of this work and undermined our mission and company" and that they would quit and join the ex-OpenAI CEO at Microsoft if the board did not resign.

The letter was first reported by Wired on Monday and shared by tech journalist Kara Swisher online, who also said that the list of signees is growing.

"Your conduct has made it clear you did not have the competence to oversee OpenAI," the letter said.

The letter's signatories include OpenAI's chief scientist Ilya Sutskever, who posted on X that he "deeply regretted" being part of the move to oust Altman.

Jan Leike, the co-lead of OpenAI's "superalignment" team with Sutskever, also posted on X: "I think the OpenAI board should resign" — words that appear to have become another rallying call of OpenAI staff, with others posting the same statement on X.

The letter to the board also said that Murati, who was initially named the interim CEO, was also replaced "against the best interests of the company."

The letter to the board is the latest development after a weekend of chaos and confusion at the AI startup. Late on Sunday, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella announced that Altman and former OpenAI president Greg Brockman would be joining a new AI team at Microsoft, after efforts by investors and current employees to bring him back as OpenAI CEO fell apart.

OpenAI subsequently appointed Emmett Shear, a former CEO of Twitch and advocate of slower AI development, as its interim CEO.

But the company's board has been dealing with an enormous backlash from employees over the way Altman's exit was handled, with several quitting to follow him to Microsoft and public displays of support being posted on X.

In its initial statement announcing Altman's firing, the board said that he had not been "consistently candid," and that it no longer had confidence in his ability to run the company.

OpenAI and Microsoft did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Business Insider, made outside normal working hours.

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