Sam Altman joins Microsoft to lead new “advanced AI research team”

Sam Altman looks on during the APEC CEO Summit at Moscone West on November 16, 2023 in San Francisco, California
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Sam Altman is set to join Microsoft to lead a new AI research team following his abrupt departure from OpenAI, CEO Satya Nadella has announced. 

In a statement online, Nadella revealed Altman and OpenAI’s former president, Greg Brockman, will join the firm to lead what he described as an “advanced AI research team”.

Microsoft is yet to provide additional details on the move. However, Nadella said Altman will set a "new pace for innovation" at the firm. 

“We’re extremely excited to share the news that Sam Altman and Greg Brockman, together with colleagues, will be joining Microsoft to lead a new advanced AI research team,” he said. 

“We look forward to moving quickly to provide them with the resources needed for their success.”

The announcement from Nadella follows several days of disruption at OpenAI which saw Altman ousted as chief executive in a boardroom coup.

In a statement on Friday 17 November, OpenAI announced the decision to oust Altman amidst claims that the exec “was not consistently candid with his communications with the board”.

“Mr Altman’s departure follows a deliberative review process by the board, which concluded that he was not consistently candid in his communications with the board, hindering its ability to exercise its responsibilities,” the company said in a statement.


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Altman’s shock removal at OpenAI led Brockman, who co-founded the firm, to resign alongside several senior colleagues. 

The tech giant initially revealed that chief technology officer Mira Murati would assume the role of chief executive on an interim basis. It has since named former Twitch head Emmett Shear as its new CEO. 

Rampant speculation over the reasoning behind Altman’s removal circulated online in the hours following the announcement. OpenAI did not elaborate on the motivations for his removal.

Reports over the weekend also suggested that Altman could return to the company, but talks are believed to have failed.

The Wall Street Journal reported that Altman’s return would be dependent on the creation of a new board and governance structure. Altman was also said to have been considering launching a new company with OpenAI colleagues.  

Microsoft, which has backed OpenAI to the tune of roughly $13 billion in funding, was reportedly “blindsided” by the move, with Bloomberg reporting that Nadella was “furious” over the ouster. 

Nadella said the tech giant remains committed to its ongoing relationship with OpenAI despite the disruption.

“We remain committed to our partnership with OpenAI and have confidence in our product roadmap, our ability to continue to innovate with everything we announced at Microsoft Ignite, and in continuing to support our customers and partners,” he said.

“We look forward to getting to know Emmett Shear and OAI's new leadership team and working with them.”

Ross Kelly
News and Analysis Editor

Ross Kelly is ITPro's News & Analysis Editor, responsible for leading the brand's news output and in-depth reporting on the latest stories from across the business technology landscape. Ross was previously a Staff Writer, during which time he developed a keen interest in cyber security, business leadership, and emerging technologies.

He graduated from Edinburgh Napier University in 2016 with a BA (Hons) in Journalism, and joined ITPro in 2022 after four years working in technology conference research.

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