Timeline of the OpenAI turmoil

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Here is a detailed timeline of the recent turmoil at OpenAI surrounding the firing of CEO Sam Altman:

Thursday, November 16

  • OpenAI Chief Scientist Ilya Sutskever texts Sam Altman to schedule a meeting for Friday afternoon.2

Friday, November 17

  • Sutskever informs OpenAI CTO Mira Murati that Altman will be fired.3
  • Sutskever invites Altman to a board meeting at noon, where Altman is fired. Altman is "shocked and saddened" by the news.12
  • Sutskever calls OpenAI President Greg Brockman shortly after, informing him he is removed from the board but can keep his role. Brockman is also told Altman was fired.2
  • OpenAI publicly announces leadership changes, stating Altman was not "consistently candid" with the board.1
  • Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella issues a statement affirming commitment to OpenAI partnership.1
  • Brockman resigns in protest later in the day.1
  • Senior OpenAI researchers Aleksander Madry, Jakub Pachocki and Szymon Sidor resign.5

Saturday, November 18

  • OpenAI COO Brad Lightcap says management was surprised by the board's decision, but it was not due to any malfeasance by Altman.5
  • Talks begin on potentially reinstating Altman as CEO.34
  • Altman posts a photo at OpenAI headquarters with a guest badge.3

Sunday, November 19

  • Negotiations stall over disagreements about future board composition if Altman returns.4
  • Altman, Brockman, and colleagues announce they will lead a new AI research team at Microsoft.14
  • Sutskever expresses regret over his role in firing Altman.6

Monday, November 20

  • OpenAI names former Twitch CEO Emmett Shear as new interim CEO after Altman talks collapse.78
  • Hundreds of employees threaten to resign to Microsoft unless Altman is reinstated.6
In summary, Altman's sudden firing triggered resignations and negotiations to bring him back, but ultimately talks broke down leading him and others to join Microsoft instead. OpenAI now faces internal turmoil under new interim leadership.
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