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OpenAI Co-Founder Ilya Sutskever to Depart Startup for Personally Meaningful Project

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OpenAI Co-Founder Ilya Sutskever to Depart Startup for Personally Meaningful Project

OpenAI co-founder Ilya Sutskever announced on Tuesday that he will leave the Microsoft-backed startup to pursue a personally meaningful project. This decision follows a leadership crisis at OpenAI involving co-founder and CEO Sam Altman.

“I am excited for what comes next — a project that is very personally meaningful to me about which I will share details in due time,” Sutskever wrote in an X post on Tuesday.

In November, OpenAI’s board cited Altman for not being “consistently candid,” leading to a complex situation. Reports indicated a division within the company: Sutskever focused on AI safety, while Altman prioritized rapid technological advancement. Following an employee walkout and Altman’s brief departure, the board members who voted against Altman, including Sutskever, were removed. Altman returned, and the board welcomed new members like former Salesforce co-CEO Bret Taylor and former Treasury Secretary Larry Summers, with Microsoft gaining a nonvoting observer role.

By March, an internal investigation concluded, and OpenAI introduced new board members: Dr. Sue Desmond-Hellmann, Nicole Seligman, and Fidji Simo.

“This is very sad to me; Ilya is easily one of the greatest minds of our generation, a guiding light of our field, and a dear friend,” Altman wrote on X about Sutskever. “His brilliance and vision are well known; his warmth and compassion are less well known but no less important.” Altman said.

Jakub Pachocki, OpenAI’s research director since 2017, will succeed Sutskever as chief scientist.

Featured image: Credit: Jack Guez | Afp | Getty Images