Microsoft wasted little time in handing roles leading an AI research unit to former OpenAI CEO Sam Altman and chair Greg Brockman, who both departed the ChatGPT developer after the former was removed by its board late last week.

In a social media post, Microsoft chair and CEO Satya Nadella revealed the pair would join his company to lead a new advanced AI research team.

He added the tech giant remained committed to its partnership with OpenAI and had confidence in its product roadmap.

Nadella noted Microsoft planned to move “quickly to provide them [the AI team] with the resources needed for their success”.

The appointments followed a flood of media speculation about Altman’s future since OpenAI announced his departure on 17 November following a review by the company’s board, which concluded he “was not consistently candid in his communications” with directors.

In its statement, the board added it “no longer has confidence in his ability to continue leading OpenAI”. At the same time, it revealed Brockman stepped down as chair, with widespread media reports claiming he resigned from the company completely hours later.   

Financial Times reported the pair had been in talks to re-join OpenAI over the weekend following criticism from investors and some ex-colleagues, but discussions broke down yesterday (19 November).

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Meanwhile former CEO of streaming platform Twitch, Emmett Shear, revealed he had been appointed as OpenAI’s interim chief.  

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It’s clear that the process and communications around Sam’s removal has been handled very badly, which has seriously damaged our trust.

Emmett Shear, interim CEO OpenAI

Shear posted on social media his priorities were to hire an independent investigator to look into the issue and reform the company’s management.

“OpenAI’s stability and success are too important to allow turmoil to disrupt them like this.”