• 700 OpenAI employees have signed a letter threatening to quit if Sam Altman isn't reinstated as CEO.
  • Some of them say they are on work-dependent visas, which they could lose if they are forced to quit.
  • It's a sign of how much loyalty Altman has inspired among staff.

OpenAI's employees are calling on the company's board to bring back Sam Altman — and some are even willing to put their visas at risk to get him back as CEO.

A number of OpenAI employees say they have signed a letter threatening to quit if Sam Altman is not brought back as CEO despite being on work-related visas, meaning they could lose the right to remain in the US should they resign.

As of Monday evening, over 700 of OpenAI's 770 employees had signed the letter threatening to quit and join Altman at Microsoft if the AI startup's board does not reinstate him as CEO and resign.

That includes senior figures such as CTO Mira Murati and chief scientist Ilya Sutskever — who had a change of heart after initially backing the board coup against Altman.

"I am on an H-1B, in the process of getting my green card and relocating my family to the US," said OpenAI technical staffer Reiichiro Nakano in a post on X.

"Me and many other colleagues in a similar situation have signed this letter. I do not know what will happen next, but I am confident we will be taken care of. The board should resign," he said.

Boris Power, OpenAI's head of applied research, also posted on X that he risked losing his visa should he quit the company.

"I'm on a research visa too that I will lose if I resign. These are details — onwards with the mission!" he said.

OpenAI's employees have publicly backed Altman to the hilt since he was unexpectedly fired by the company's board on Friday, posting coordinated messages on social media and reportedly refusing to attend an all-hands hosted by new boss Emmett Shear.

A number of senior OpenAI employees are already expected to follow Altman and ex-OpenAI president Greg Brockman to Microsoft.

Altman has also hinted that workers who choose to resign from OpenAI will be welcomed into the new AI team he is heading up at Microsoft, posting on X that "we are all going to work together some way or other, and I'm so excited."

In the letter to the board calling for its resignation, OpenAI's employees said that Microsoft "assured us there are positions for all OpenAI employees" at the company — although sources told Business Insider that these assurances were strictly verbal and not set in stone.

But Microsoft boss Satya Nadella said in a conversation with tech journalist Kara Swisher on an episode of her podcast that aired on Monday that it would "definitely have a place for all AI talent."

OpenAI did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Business Insider, made outside normal working hours.

Read the original article on Business Insider