Sam Altman’s tenure as CEO of OpenAI has come to an end, as announced by the company on Friday.
“Mr. Altman’s departure comes after a thorough review conducted by the board. The board determined that he did not consistently provide open and honest communication, which made it difficult for them to fulfill their responsibilities,” the company stated in its blog post. “The board has lost faith in his capacity to effectively lead OpenAI.”
Mira Murati, the chief technology officer, has been appointed as the interim CEO, with immediate effect. The company is currently in the process of searching for a new CEO to take over on a permanent basis. When The Verge reached out to OpenAI, their communications department chose not to provide any additional comments beyond what was stated in the blog post. According to multiple sources, employees at OpenAI learned about the news when it was publicly announced.
“I thoroughly enjoyed my experience at OpenAI,” Altman expressed in a post on X (formerly Twitter). “It had a profound impact on me as an individual, and perhaps even made a small difference in the world.” In a subsequent post, he described the experience of his termination as “almost like reading your own eulogy while you’re still alive.”
According to OpenAI’s announcement, Greg Brockman, co-founder and president, will be stepping down as chairman of the board but will continue to be a part of the company. Shortly after it was published, Brockman announced on X that he had decided to resign “in light of the recent news.”
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
— Greg Brockman (@gdb) November 18, 2023
In a subsequent post on X, Brockman mentioned that he and Sam Altman received notification of their removal from the board on Friday from Ilya Sutskever, a co-founder and chief scientist at OpenAI. “Sam and I are deeply disturbed and filled with sorrow over the actions taken by the board today,” expressed Brockman.
Sam and I are shocked and saddened by what the board did today.
Let us first say thank you to all the incredible people who we have worked with at OpenAI, our customers, our investors, and all of those who have been reaching out.
We too are still trying to figure out exactly…
— Greg Brockman (@gdb) November 18, 2023
Wow, talk about a complete surprise! Altman has been prominently associated with OpenAI, the organization that sparked the current AI competition by introducing ChatGPT, a highly successful release last year. Last week, Altman delivered the keynote at the company’s inaugural DevDay conference, unveiling a range of significant updates to rival tech giants such as Microsoft and Google. Altman recently spoke at Thursday’s Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation conference.
Microsoft, a company that has made significant investments in OpenAI, has confirmed to The Verge that it plans to maintain its partnership with the organization. “We have a long-term partnership with OpenAI and Microsoft remains committed to Mira and their team as we bring this next era of AI to our customers,” stated Microsoft spokesperson Frank Shaw. On X, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella expressed a similar sentiment.
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
Altman has apparently had discussions with Jony Ive, Apple’s former chief design officer, regarding the creation of a “iPhone of artificial intelligence.” However, Altman dismissed these rumors during a recent Wall Street Journal conference. He is also the largest shareholder in Humane, which recently introduced orders for its Humane AI Pin.
Altman, a co-founder of OpenAI, initially served as a co-chair of the company alongside Elon Musk. Musk departed in 2018 to prevent any potential conflicts of interest with Tesla. He has gone on to establish his own AI company, xAI.
In contrast to conventional private company boards, the majority of OpenAI’s board is composed of individuals who are not directly affiliated with the organization. The company’s board members now include Ilya Sutskever, the chief scientist, Adam D’Angelo, the CEO of Quora, Tasha McCauley, the former CEO of GeoSim Systems, and Helen Toner, the director of strategy at Georgetown’s Center for Security and Emerging Technology, following the departures of Altman and Brockman.