Key Insights on Emmett Shear, OpenAI’s Newly Appointed Interim CEO

by Ryan Lee
Emmett Shear OpenAI

Recently, OpenAI witnessed a major leadership shuffle with Emmett Shear, the former Twitch CEO, stepping in as the interim CEO. This move follows the sudden exit of Sam Altman, a change that has stirred significant discussions in the AI industry.

Shear disclosed his appointment via a post on X (previously known as Twitter) on Monday. He openly criticized the manner in which Altman’s dismissal was handled last Friday, highlighting the negative impact it had on trust within OpenAI.

The abrupt termination of Altman, aged 38, was attributed by OpenAI to his inconsistent transparency in dealings with the board. The lack of further explanation has left many speculating about the underlying reasons for his departure.

In response to Altman’s removal, Shear has committed to bringing clarity to the situation. He announced plans to appoint an external investigator to thoroughly examine the circumstances leading to Altman’s exit and to deliver a report in 30 days.


At 40, Shear is recognized as a co-founder of Twitch, a gaming-focused social media platform owned by Amazon. Twitch emerged from Justin.tv, established by Shear and his partners in 2006. Its pivot to gaming in 2011 marked a significant growth trajectory, culminating in Amazon’s acquisition in 2014 for approximately $970 million.

Though Twitch is less prominent in media coverage compared to other social platforms, it has faced scrutiny, particularly when mass shootings in New York and Germany were broadcasted live on the site.

Shear departed Twitch in March, citing the birth of his son, now 9 months old. Post-Twitch, he served as a visiting partner at Y Combinator, a noted incubator responsible for launching companies like Airbnb and Dropbox. Both Shear and Altman are Y Combinator alumni, with Altman having served as its president.

Shear’s LinkedIn reflects his ongoing entrepreneurial journey, starting from his college days. A Yale University alumnus with a degree in computer science, Shear remains committed to his entrepreneurial path.


OpenAI initially appointed Mira Murati as interim CEO. However, following a petition for the board’s resignation and Altman’s reinstatement, signed by numerous OpenAI staff, the board opted for Shear. He described the offer to lead OpenAI as a “once-in-a-lifetime opportunity” in his X post.

Investors are actively engaged in stabilizing OpenAI. Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella expressed excitement about the new leadership, including Shear, in a recent X post.

Shear, having interned at Microsoft, once expressed dissatisfaction with that experience in a social media post.


Before accepting the role at OpenAI, Shear sought clarity on the reasons for the leadership change. He emphasized that the decision to remove Altman was not related to disagreements over AI safety, a critical aspect of OpenAI’s operations.


Shear’s immediate goals include hiring an independent investigator, engaging with stakeholders, and reorganizing the management and leadership. He aims to ensure OpenAI’s stability and success amidst current challenges.

His stance on AI, as discussed in a June podcast, reflects cautious optimism. Shear advocates for gradual, controlled development of AI, prioritizing safety and careful handling of AI’s future trajectory.


This report includes contributions from AP reporter Matt O’Brien in Providence, Rhode Island.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Emmett Shear OpenAI

Who is Emmett Shear and what is his new role?

Emmett Shear, co-founder of Twitch, has been appointed as the interim CEO of OpenAI, following the departure of Sam Altman.

What led to Sam Altman’s departure from OpenAI?

Sam Altman’s departure from OpenAI was due to concerns about his transparency with the board, though specific details have not been disclosed.

What is Emmett Shear’s background before joining OpenAI?

Before joining OpenAI, Emmett Shear was the co-founder of Twitch, a popular gaming-focused streaming platform acquired by Amazon, and a visiting partner at Y Combinator.

What are Emmett Shear’s plans for OpenAI?

Emmett Shear plans to hire an independent investigator to examine the circumstances of Altman’s departure, engage with stakeholders, and reorganize the management and leadership at OpenAI.

What is Emmett Shear’s stance on AI development?

Shear advocates for a cautious and gradual approach to AI development, emphasizing the importance of safety and controlled progression in AI technology.

More about Emmett Shear OpenAI

  • Emmett Shear’s LinkedIn Profile
  • Twitch and Its Impact on the Gaming Industry
  • Y Combinator’s Role in Tech Innovation
  • OpenAI’s Leadership and Governance
  • Artificial Intelligence Safety and Ethics

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TechGuru007 November 21, 2023 - 11:45 am

wasn’t shear at Y Combinator for a short time? article makes it seem like he was there longer.

Jeremy Clarkson November 21, 2023 - 12:10 pm

interesting read but the part about Shear’s background seems a bit off, twitch was more than just gaming right?

Sarah_92 November 21, 2023 - 5:21 pm

so what’s the real story behind Altman leaving, feels like there’s more to it than what’s being said.

AIenthusiast November 22, 2023 - 12:00 am

Shear’s approach to AI is on point, slow and steady wins the race, specially with something as powerful as AI.


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