OpenAI Names Former Twitch CEO Emmett Shear as Interim Chief

Emmett Shear, former CEO of Twitch, has been tapped for interim chief executive at OpenAI in the wake of the company surprisingly ousting Sam Altman from the prominent AI leadership role.

Key Insights

  • OpenAI appoints former Twitch CEO Emmett Shear as interim CEO after removing Sam Altman.
  • Shear guided Twitch’s growth from startup to its $1 billion sale to Amazon.
  • As interim CEO, Shear will oversee OpenAI products like ChatGPT while investigating Altman’s ousting.

SAN FRANCISCO – Artificial intelligence research company OpenAI has appointed former Twitch CEO Emmett Shear as its new interim chief executive, just days after surprisingly removing CEO Sam Altman from the role.

Shear confirmed Monday in an online post that he had accepted the interim CEO position over the weekend after getting an unexpected call from OpenAI’s board. The move came shortly after Chief Technology Officer Mira Murati had briefly taken over as interim CEO following Altman’s unexplained departure.

Who is Emmett Shear?

While the 40-year-old Shear is lesser known to the general public, he is a prominent figure in Silicon Valley as the co-founder and former head of Twitch, the live streaming platform focused on gaming. Shear guided Twitch’s growth from a small startup to acquisition by Amazon for nearly $1 billion in 2014.

Shear recently left his CEO role at Twitch, which he had held for over 16 years, saying he wanted to spend more time with his family. However, OpenAI’s board was able to convince Shear that leading the high-profile AI company was too important of an opportunity to pass up at this crucial juncture.

In an online post explaining his decision to take the job, Shear wrote,

I believe that OpenAI is one of the most important companies currently in existence. When the board shared the situation and asked me to take the role, I did not make the decision lightly. Ultimately I felt that I had a duty to help if I could.

As interim CEO, Shear inherits oversight of OpenAI’s marquee artificial intelligence like ChatGPT, the conversational chatbot that has fascinated millions of users. He will need to balance advancing OpenAI’s mission of developing cutting-edge AI while addressing growing concerns about the technology’s potential negative impacts.

Read also! Altman, Brockman Join Microsoft After OpenAI Exits

Shear will also face scrutiny over what exactly led to Altman’s swift departure from OpenAI after serving as CEO for five years and helping oversee its prominent rise. Shear stated he plans to reform OpenAI’s management team under his leadership and hire an independent investigator to look into the circumstances behind Altman’s removal.

With his technical expertise and experience rapidly scaling a startup, Shear appears well-equipped to steer OpenAI through choppy waters. But the long-term leadership plans of the influential AI research company remain uncertain as it searches for a permanent new CEO.

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