Sam Altman
Major OpenAI investors are trying to urge the OpenAI board to bring back Sam Altman as the company's CEO. Wikimedia Commons

OpenAI investors are sparing no effort to bring Sam Altman back as CEO after the board fired him last week. This piece of information has been revealed by people familiar with the matter.

According to a source, some of OpenAI's top backers including Microsoft, Tiger Global and venture firm Thrive Capital want Altman to be reinstated as the CEO of the American AI company.

Also, a person with knowledge of the matter told CNBC that Sequoia Capital is currently in touch with Altman. The person also said Sequoia is willing to support whatever Altman and former OpenAI president Greg Brockman choose to do next, whether they decide to return to OpenAI or create a new startup.

Moreover, Sequoia told Microsoft that it would support efforts to bring back Altman and Brockman. Citing a source, The Verge reported that Altman is "ambivalent" about returning.

Also, the report suggests Altman is planning to demand governance changes. As expected, OpenAI's announcement that it was firing Altman and replacing him on an interim basis with technology chief Mira Murati shocked Silicon Valley.

OpenAI turned out to be one of the hottest startups since launching its AI-powered chatbot, ChatGPT last year. Following in its footsteps, major tech companies including Google and Microsoft jumped on the AI bot bandwagon.

Microsoft was surprised by the announcement. The Redmond-based tech giant has a close technology partnership with OpenAI and has invested billions of dollars in the company.

Aside from ousting Altman, OpenAI removed Brockman from his board leadership position, but the company said he would remain as president. However, Brockman announced later in the day that he quit.

OpenAI Board isn't willing to bring back Sam Altman

According to an internal memo sent to the company's staff, OpenAI's board of directors isn't planning to change its decision to force Altman out of the CEO role.

Pushing aside Mira Murati, the AI company has now named Emmett Shear, the former CEO of Twitch, as the new interim chief executive.

The board believes Shear has a "unique mix of skills, expertise and relationships that will drive OpenAI forward", according to the memo viewed by The New York Times.

"The board firmly stands by its decision as the only path to advance and defend the mission of OpenAI," said the memo. Reportedly, all four directors on the company's board including Adam D'Angelo, Helen Toner, Ilya Sutskever and Tasha McCauley had signed the memo.

"Put simply, Sam's behavior and lack of transparency in his interactions with the board undermined the board's ability to effectively supervise the company in the manner it was mandated to do," the memo said.

However, the board did not divulge details about specific incidents involving Altman as the cause for ousting him. Instead, it just said that Altman had "lost the trust of the board of directors".

Also, the board attributed its decision to remove Altman to preserving its ability to execute its responsibilities and to move the company's mission forward.

Sam Altman plans to start a new AI company

The memo also pointed out that it is important for any CEO to be honest and transparent with his or her board. A person familiar with the matter told Reuters that Altman has been thinking about a possible return to the company and planning to launch a new AI venture.

The person told the news outlet that Altman discussed with some OpenAI researchers and others loyal to him how they could team up to start a new AI company.

In a post on X, the Founder of Khosla Ventures and an early supporter of OpenAI, Vinod Khosla that his company will back Altman in whatever he does next. It is worth noting that Altman is widely considered the poster boy of the new wave of artificial intelligence.

Earlier this month, Altman noted that OpenAI is seeking further financial support from Microsoft to support its development efforts. He recently came under fire for claiming AGI is equivalent to a median human.