OpenAI board in talks with Sam Altman to negotiate his potential return: report

The AI startup that developed ChatGPT is in turmoil after its board fired Altman last week

Members of OpenAI's board of directors have re-opened talks with Sam Altman to negotiate the terms of his potential return to the startup he co-founded, days after firing him as CEO, according to a new report.

Sam Altman looks on at APEC summit

Sam Altman during the APEC CEO Summit at Moscone West on Nov. 16, 2023, in San Francisco. OpenAI's board terminated Altman on Friday, but is reportedly in talks to reinstate him. (Justin Sullivan / Getty Images)

Sources told Bloomberg that at least one OpenAI board member, Adam D'Angelo, is in discussions with Altman, and that talks also involve some investors in the artificial intelligence company who want to see the former chief executive reinstated.

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The purported revelation comes as OpenAI, which developed popular AI chatbot ChatGPT, remains in disarray after Altman's abrupt termination on Friday. It also marks at least the second time OpenAI board members have held talks with Altman since his departure, after he returned to the company's headquarters on Sunday for negotiations that ultimately broke down.

Satya Nadella speaks as Sam Altman looks on

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, right, speaks as Sam Altman looks on during the OpenAI DevDay event on Nov. 6, 2023, in San Francisco. (Justin Sullivan / Getty Images)

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Since then, Microsoft has already hired Altman and OpenAI co-founder and President Greg Brockman to lead a new advanced AI research team at the tech giant, and nearly all of OpenAI's 770 or so employees have signed a letter threatening to leave for Microsoft, too, unless Altman is brought back and OpenAI's board members step down.

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Microsoft is the majority shareholder in OpenAI's for-profit operation, and has invested some $13 billion in the startup.

Meanwhile, some OpenAI investors are reportedly considering suing the board over its actions.

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Although OpenAI is currently in turmoil, the company is reportedly working to stabilize the situation. OpenAI President of Global Affairs Anna Makanju sent an internal memo to staff saying management is in "intense discussions" with Altman, interim CEO Emmett Shear, and the board to unify the company, according to Bloomberg.