Internal politics

OpenAI co-founder quits

OpenAI co-founder and Chief Scientist—Ilya Sutskever–has quit OpenAI

Martin Crowley
May 15, 2024

OpenAI CEO, Sam Altman, announced that co-founder and Cheif Scitenist Ilya Sutskever had made the decision to resign, acknowledging the work he’s done for OpenAI in a statement:

“OpenAI would not be what it is without him. I am forever grateful for what he did here and committed to finishing the mission we started together.”

Sutskever, although didn’t share what his plans were or why he has decided to leave OpenAI, did say that he was:

“Excited for what comes next — a project that is very personally meaningful to me, about which I will share details in due time.”

Who is replacing Sutskever? 

Jakub Pachocki, OpenAI’s Director of Research is replacing Sutskever as an experienced scientist who specializes in large-scale reinforcement learning and deep learning optimization and previously led the team that built an AI system capable of beating humans in a computer game.

Why do we think Sutskever is leaving OpenAI?

Sutskever’s quick departure comes one day after OpenAI launched GPT-4o (its newest AI model) and after a well-publicized fallout between board members in November. 

The fallout was instigated by Sutskever, who went to the board–along with OpenAI CTO Mira Murati–with concerns over OpenAI’s direction, reportedly frustrated about Altmans rush to deploy AI models at the expense of testing for safety. 

Although Altman was fired, and then rehired, the drama continued, as Jan Leike, who led the Superalignment team, which was focused on responsible AI development, resigned.

This and the quick launch of a new AI model could explain why Sutskever has made the decision to leave, although reports say that he actually never returned to work after Altman was rehired, and Pachocki has been serving as Chief Scientist since November.