OpenAI Fires CEO Sam Altman
OpenAI, the world’s most prominent artificial intelligence startup, has ousted its longtime chief executive, Sam Altman, in a sudden move.…
OpenAI, the world’s most prominent artificial intelligence startup, has ousted its longtime chief executive, Sam Altman, in a sudden move. Altman has given up his CEO role and left the company’s board.
Altman “was not consistently candid in his communications with the board, hindering its ability to exercise its responsibilities,” OpenAI said in a press statement. “The board no longer has confidence in his ability to continue leading OpenAI.”
OpenAI’s chief technology officer, Mira Murati, has replaced Altman in the interim. Alongside Altman’s departure, OpenAI announced that Chairman Greg Brockman will give up his board seat but retain an executive position at the company, reporting to the CEO.
Altman and Brockman co-founded OpenAI in 2015 alongside a team that included famed investor Peter Thiel and Tesla/SpaceX CEO Elon Musk.
- Altman’s departure came abruptly. It’s rare to see a prominent technology company ousting its chief executive with a blunt statement of no longer having confidence in their abilities.
- In late 2022, under Altman’s leadership, OpenAI released ChatGPT, a large language model (LLM)-based chatbot that paved the way for the current artificial intelligence craze. Various competitors have cropped up, but ChatGPT remains the dominant LLM-based chatbot.
OpenAI Inc. began as a non-profit organization funded by tens of millions of dollars in donations from its founding team. In 2019, it created a for-profit subsidiary that went on to secure $11bn in investments from tech giant Microsoft (NASDAQ: MSFT).
OpenAI sits atop the current LLM-based chatbot craze, which makes Altman’s sudden departure more puzzling. Before co-founding OpenAI, Altman was President of Y Combinator, a prestigious startup accelerator. He also co-founded Worldcoin, a controversial iris biometric cryptocurrency project.
Update: Brockman has announced his resignation from OpenAI altogether, stating “Altman and I are shocked and saddened from what the board did today.”
There appeared to be significant disagreements between board members about OpenAI’s strategy, leading to Altman’s ouster.
Update [November 22, 2023]: OpenAI has agreed to reinstate Altman as its chief executive. Three of the organization’s four board members will depart, and a new board will be assembled.