A key factor in the OpenAI board’s ultimate decision to remove Sam Altman as CEO of the company were complaints of “psychological abuse” from multiple senior employees, according to statements from two people with knowledge of the situation to The Washington Post. The sources also claimed that several members of the board had similar interactions with Altman, and some felt the executive had lied to them as part of an effort to get board member Helen Toner axed after she condemned OpenAI in a paper. The board launched an investigation into Altman’s behavior after the senior leaders’ complaints and ultimately fired him on Nov. 17, deciding he would be too difficult to manage, according to the Post. Altman was brought back five days later after a majority of employees signed a letter promising wholesale departures. But on the anonymous forum app Blind, users identified as current employees shared experiences of social pressure to sign the resignation letter. The newspaper also reported that experienced employees had a financial motivation to add their names because Altman’s departure would potentially prevent them from being able to exchange their stock in the company for money.
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