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(CNN) -- Hundreds of OpenAI employees are demanding the resignation of the board of directors of the company that created ChatGPT and threatening to resign themselves, after a tumultuous weekend that began with the surprise ouster of CEO Sam Altman and ended with Microsoft's hiring of Altman.

In a letter obtained by CNN, the more than 500 employees accused OpenAI's board of mishandling Altman's firing.

  • Why Sam Altman Was Fired From OpenAI And What's Next After The Surprise Restructuring

"His actions have made it clear that he is incapable of overseeing OpenAI," the employees wrote.

"We cannot work for or with people who lack competence, judgment and care for our mission and our employees." The employees also warned that they would "imminently" follow Altman to Microsoft unless the board resigned and reinstated Altman and Greg Brockman, the former OpenAI chairman who was also ousted by the board on Friday.

Among the signatories are Mira Murati, who had been named by the board on Friday as Altman's interim successor, as well as Ilya Sutskever, OpenAI's chief scientist, who reportedly played a major role in Altman's firing. Murati's promotion has been replaced by the appointment of Emmett Shear as interim CEO. Shear, 40, is the co-founder of Twitch, a live-streaming company


On Monday, after news of the letter broke, Sutskever posted an apology on X, acknowledging his contribution to the leadership crisis that appeared to revolve around tensions between Altman and the board over the pace and scope of AI development.

"I deeply regret my involvement in the board's actions," he said. "I never intended to harm OpenAI. I love everything we've built together and I'll do everything I can to keep the company together."

The letter highlights internal divisions at OpenAI that came to light after Altman's firing and raises further questions about the fate of the three OpenAI board members who are not employees. That list includes Quora CEO Adam D'Angelo, tech entrepreneur Tasha McCauley and Helen Toner, director of strategy and fundamental research grants at Georgetown University's Center for Security and Emerging Technology.

As they sought to manage the fallout from Altman's firing, according to the letter, board members "informed the leadership team that allowing the company to be destroyed 'would be consistent with OpenAI's mission,'" which is "to ensure that the tools provided by artificial general intelligence benefit all of humanity."

The rebuke from some of OpenAI's most senior employees also underscores Altman's loyal following and Microsoft's opportunity to profit from the situation.

"Microsoft has assured us that there are positions for all OpenAI employees," the letter adds.

After Sutskever posted his message to X, Altman amplified the apology and added a short comment consisting of three heart emojis.