OpenAI, one of the leading companies in the artificial intelligence realm, has appointed Emmett Shear as its interim CEO, following the departure of Sam Altman. Shear, the former co-founder and CEO of Twitch, stepped into the role swiftly after a call from the company.
Emmett Shear is a notable figure in Silicon Valley, having steered Twitch from its humble beginnings to a global phenomenon, ultimately being acquired by Amazon for $1 billion in 2014. After his departure from Twitch last year, Shear became a partner at Y Combinator, a prominent startup accelerator.
The decision to bring Shear on board at OpenAI comes amid speculation and questions surrounding Altman’s departure. Shear, in a post on X, revealed that he took the job because he believes “OpenAI is one of the most important companies currently in existence.” This move places him at the helm of a company renowned for its popular generative AI chatbot, ChatGPT.
Shear’s appointment follows a series of rapid changes within OpenAI, with Altman’s removal and subsequent replacement by chief technology officer Mira Murati on Friday. The appointment of Shear aims to stabilize the company and address concerns raised by employees and the broader AI community.
Shear outlined a three-point plan for the next 30 days, emphasizing transparency and reform. This plan includes hiring an independent investigator to delve into the process leading up to Altman’s departure, engaging with employees, partners, investors, and customers, and restructuring the management and leadership teams.
“I want to do everything in my power to protect [OpenAI] and grow it further,” Shear stated. Acknowledging the turmoil, he aims to address key concerns, although he recognizes that some issues may take longer than a month to resolve.
Amid the changes, Shear reassured that OpenAI’s partnership with Microsoft remains strong, highlighting his commitment to serving customers effectively. However, he acknowledged the mishandling of the communication around Altman’s removal, stating, “And it’s clear that the process and communications around Sam’s removal have been handled very badly, which has seriously damaged our trust.”
The unexpected developments at OpenAI raise questions about the company’s future and its role in advancing AI technology. Shear faces the challenge of healing internal rifts, ensuring transparency, and maintaining OpenAI’s standing as a key player in the AI landscape.