OpenAI, the company that developed language model-based chatbot ChatGPT, has fired its CEO and co-founder Sam Altman.
The board "no longer has confidence" in his ability
In a blog post on Nov. 17, 2023, the company explained that Altman's abrupt departure followed "a deliberative review process" by the board.
It was concluded that Altman, 38, was "not consistently candid in his communications" with the board, thus hindering its ability to exercise its responsibilities.
"The board no longer has confidence in his ability to continue leading OpenAI," the company added.
OpenAI's board of directors said in a statement:
"OpenAI was deliberately structured to advance our mission: to ensure that artificial general intelligence benefits all humanity. The board remains fully committed to serving this mission.
We are grateful for Sam's many contributions to the founding and growth of OpenAI. At the same time, we believe new leadership is necessary as we move forward."
After news of his departure broke, Altman uploaded a post on X (formerly Twitter), saying that he "loved" his time in OpenAI.
"It was transformative for me personally, and hopefully the world a little bit. Most of all I loved working with such talented people."
He added that he will "have more to say" about what's next at a later date.
i loved my time at openai. it was transformative for me personally, and hopefully the world a little bit. most of all i loved working with such talented people.
will have more to say about what’s next later.
— Sam Altman (@sama) November 17, 2023
Mira Murati to serve as interim CEO
In its blog post, OpenAI also announced that the company's chief technology officer Mira Murati will serve as interim CEO, effective immediately.
She has been a member of the company's leadership team for five years.
The board of directors said that it has the "utmost confidence" in Murati's ability to lead OpenAI in this transition period.
"As the leader of the company's research, product, and safety functions, Mira is exceptionally qualified to step into the role of interim CEO," the board added.
A search process is underway to identify a "permanent successor", OpenAI said.
OpenAI president & co-founder Greg Brockman: "I quit"
As part of the leadership transition, OpenAI also announced that its president and co-founder Greg Brockman will be stepping down as chairman of the board, but will remain in his role at the company, reporting to the CEO.
However, Brockman later said in a post on X: "Based on today's news, I quit."
— Greg Brockman (@gdb) November 18, 2023
Brockman declined to comment when contacted by The New York Times.
The exits of Altman and Brockman leave chief scientist Ilya Sutskever as the sole OpenAI founder remaining on its board.
Microsoft remains committed to partnership with OpenAI
OpenAI released ChatGPT in November 2022, and the chatbot quickly became one of the world's fastest-growing software applications.
A form of generative AI, ChatGPT is trained to follow an instruction in a prompt and provide a detailed response.
ChatGPT was backed by billions of dollars from Microsoft, OpenAI's closest partner.
Following news of OpenAI's leadership transition, Microsoft chairman and CEO Satya Nadella said in a statement that his company remains committed to its partnership with OpenAI, as well as to Murati and the team.
"Together, we will continue to deliver the meaningful benefits of this technology to the world," he added.
As you saw at Microsoft Ignite this week, we're continuing to rapidly innovate for this era of AI, with over 100 announcements across the full tech stack – from AI systems, models, and tools in Azure, to Copilot. Most importantly, we're committed to delivering all of this to our…
— Satya Nadella (@satyanadella) November 17, 2023
Top images via OpenAI/YouTube & Rolf van Root/Unsplash.