In a surprise shakeup of its c-suite Friday, OpenAI’s board of directors announced that CEO Sam Altman has been fired and will be leaving both the company and the board, effective immediately. Chief Technology Officer Mira Murati has been named interim CEO.
Altman’s oustering reportedly follows an internal “deliberative review process” which found he had not been “consistently candid in his communications with the board, hindering its ability to exercise its responsibilities,” the company announced. As such, “the board no longer has confidence in his ability to continue leading OpenAI.”
OpenAI, which owns popular AI chatbot ChatGPT, thanked Altman’ for his “many contributions to the founding and growth of OpenAI,” but believes that “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 it has “the utmost confidence in her ability to lead OpenAI during this transition period.”
OpenAI’s board is comprised of the company’s Chief Scientist Ilya Sutskever, as well as Chairman and President Greg Brockman. Independent advisors, who hold no equity in the company, are also board members: Quora CEO Adam D’Angelo, tech entrepreneur Tasha McCauley and privacy advocate Helen Toner of the Georgetown Center for Security and Emerging Technology. Altman was also considered an independent advisor on the board, despite being CEO of the company prior to his departure.
Altman’s personal profile has grown alongside the meteoric rise of generative AI technologies over the past year, making him something of an unofficial face for both OpenAI and the burgeoning industry as a whole. Previously the president of Y Combinator, Alman has appeared before Congressional panels and committees, attended both Senate AI Insight forums, and made numerous rounds at industry conferences.
On Thursday. Altman attended the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation CEO Summit in San Francisco. “Something has qualitatively changed,” he said during the event. “Now I can talk to this thing. It’s like the ‘Star Trek’ computer I was always promised. … I think a lot of the world has collectively gone through a lurch this year to catch up.”
Altman and Murati aren’t the only ones caught in this shuffle. Brockman will also be stepping down from his role as board president but will remain at OpenAI, reporting to the new CEO.
This is a developing story. Please check back for updates.