Microsoft shares jumped 1.5% on Monday after a Sunday announcement it had hired OpenAI founder Sam Altman—who was recently forced out by the AI chatbot ChatGPT maker’s board—to lead its new advanced AI research team.
As markets opened Monday morning, MSFT—which trades on Nasdaq—rose 1.5% in the first 10 minutes. The stock closed at $369.67 on Friday and rose by $2.63 during pre-market trading. As of this writing, MSFT shares were trading at $375.31.
On Friday, Sam Altman was ousted as the CEO of OpenAI, Inc., with the company’s board determining that he wasn’t “consistently candid in his communications,” which they felt hindered the board’s ability to fulfill its responsibilities. The loss of confidence from the board led to the decision that Altman would step down and also leave OpenAI’s board of directors.
The leadership change prompted Greg Brockman to step down as chairman while continuing as president. Mira Murati, formerly the CTO, was initially appointed as the interim CEO—but joined 500 OpenAI employees in signing a letter accusing the board of mishandling Altman’s departure.
By Monday, Twitch co-founder Emmett Shear had been named interim CEO while the board conducts a formal search for a permanent hire.
Meanwhile, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said on X (formerly Twitter) early Monday that the company remains committed to its business relationship with OpenAI. But he also expressed excitement that OpenAI co-founders Altman and Brockman had joined the new AI venture along with other former OpenAI employees.
We remain committed to our partnership with OpenAI and have confidence in our product roadmap, our ability to continue to innovate with everything we announced at Microsoft Ignite, and in continuing to support our customers and partners. We look forward to getting to know Emmett…
— Satya Nadella (@satyanadella) November 20, 2023
“We are going to build something new & it will be incredible,” Brockman tweeted, adding that the group’s initial leadership team would consist of Altman along with Jakub Pachocki, Szymon Sidor and Aleksander Madry.
The news of Altman and Brockman’s hiring at Microsoft was bolstered by the release of a letter signed by at least 500 of OpenAI’s employees demanding that the company’s board resign.
Meanwhile Nvidia, which also trades on the Nasdaq, saw its NVDA shares rise 0.7% ahead of the market open and sustain that gain once trading began on Monday. NVDA shares closed at $492.98 on Friday afternoon. As of this writing, the stock was trading for $495.30.
The computer chip and graphics card designer has become a proxy for growing AI enthusiasm among investors. The company’s embrace of AI has led to almost 200% growth in its share price in 2023, cementing its position as one of the leading businesses powering the S&P 500.