Investors plead for Sam Altman’s return as CEO

Investors, including Microsoft and Sequoia Capital, are rallying to bring back Sam Altman as OpenAI CEO.
Nov 19, 2023, 6:36 AM EST
2 mins read
Investors seek to restore Sam Altman to CEO role
Sam Altman at OpenAI DevDay (Photo: OpenAI)

Update Nov. 20, 2023: CNBC confirmed that Emmett Shear has taken over OpenAI following Sam Altman’s departure. The original story is included below.

In a surprising turn of events, OpenAI investors are reportedly mobilizing to bring back Sam Altman as CEO, just one day after he was ousted by the board, according to sources close to the matter.

Prominent backers such as Microsoft, Tiger Global, and venture firm Thrive Capital are spearheading the effort to reinstate Altman, with Sequoia Capital also expressing support for Altman and former OpenAI president Greg Brockman. These backers are even open to supporting Altman and Brockman in launching a new startup if they opt for that route.


The talks to bring back Altman were first reported by The Verge, which cited a source stating that Altman is “ambivalent” about returning and would likely seek governance changes. Altman has yet to respond to requests for comment, and Thrive has also remained silent on the matter. Microsoft is closely aligned with OpenAI through significant investments and a technology partnership.

The recent announcement of Altman’s dismissal on Friday, along with the interim appointment of Mira Murati as the new technology chief, sent shockwaves through Silicon Valley. OpenAI, known for its groundbreaking ChatGPT chatbot, has been a major player in the generative AI market, attracting substantial investments and reportedly entertaining discussions about selling employee shares at a staggering valuation of $86 billion.


Microsoft, caught off guard by the sudden leadership changes, not only ousted Altman but also removed Brockman from his board leadership role, although he remains as president. Brockman later announced his resignation, adding another layer of complexity to OpenAI’s leadership shuffle.

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