OpenAI announced Sam Altman has departed the company on Friday. Chief Technology Officer Mira Murati has been appointed interim CEO to lead OpenAI. The news comes just weeks after OpenAI’s DevDay, where Sam Altman announced some of the company’s biggest advancements yet.
“Mr. Altman’s departure follows a deliberative review process by the board, which concluded that he was not consistently candid in his communications with the board, hindering its ability to exercise its responsibilities,” said the company in a statement Friday. “The board no longer has confidence in his ability to continue leading OpenAI.”
The board says it believes new leadership is necessary as it moves forward, though the board is grateful for Sam’s many contributions. The comments from the board suggest Altman may have lied to the board about some aspects of OpenAI’s business. The board did not specify any further.
Greg Brockman, the president, co-founder, and chairman of OpenAI, will be stepping down as chairman of the board. Brockman will remain at the company, reporting to the new CEO Murati.
Members of the board include OpenAI chief scientist Ilya Sutskever, Quora CEO Adam D’Angelo, technology entrepreneur Tasha McCauley, and Georgetown Center for Security and Emerging Technology’s Helen Toner.
“My immediate reaction is shock and concern,” said Alex Reibman, co-founder of the AI startup AgentOps, who hosted a hackathon to build GPTs for OpenAI’s platform last week. “Sam Altman is part of the reason why this moment is so big and so important. He has one of the most visionary mindsets out of any technology leader today.”
Sam Altman co-founded OpenAI in 2015, alongside Tesla CEO Elon Musk and others, with an ultimate goal to “advance digital intelligence in the way that is most likely to benefit humanity as a whole, unconstrained by a need to generate financial return.” Under Altman’s leadership, OpenAI showed the world what generative AI can do with ChatGPT. The company sped past larger competitors, partnering with Microsoft to completely dominate the space.
“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,” a Microsoft spokesperson told Gizmodo.
OpenAI’s operations have been far from smooth sailing since the grand announcements made at DevDay, which included the GPT Store and GPT-4 Turbo. The company paused its premium signups this week, citing too much traffic from DevDay. OpenAI was also the subject of DDoS attacks, which crippled the platform, and Microsoft briefly told its employees not to use ChatGPT. It’s unclear at this time whether the events in the last two weeks are related to the firing of Sam Altman.