ChatGPT-maker Open AI pushes out co-founder and CEO Sam Altman, says he wasn’t ‘consistently candid’

by Madison Thomas
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Microsoft's AI Leadership Move

OpenAI, the organization behind ChatGPT, announced the departure of its co-founder and CEO, Sam Altman, following a decision by its board. The board’s determination was based on findings that Altman did not maintain consistent transparency in his dealings with them, leading to a loss of confidence in his leadership abilities. Mira Murati, OpenAI’s CTO, has been appointed as the acting CEO while the search for a permanent successor is underway.

The specific reasons for Altman’s alleged communication issues were not disclosed by an OpenAI spokesperson. The company emphasized that Altman’s conduct impeded the board’s oversight functions.

In a recent post on X (previously known as Twitter), Altman reflected positively on his tenure at OpenAI, expressing gratitude for the experience and the opportunity to work with talented individuals. He hinted at future plans, which he would discuss later.

Altman, who co-founded OpenAI in 2015 as a nonprofit research lab, became a prominent figure in the AI field, especially after ChatGPT gained widespread attention. He garnered significant public interest, evidenced by a large turnout of fans during an event in London earlier this year.

At a CEO summit at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation conference in San Francisco, Altman spoke about the transformative potential of AI and the necessity for safeguards against its risks.

In a related move, Greg Brockman, OpenAI’s president and board chairman, will resign as chairman but will continue in his current role within the company. The composition of OpenAI’s board includes Ilya Sutskever, the chief scientist, and three external members: Adam D’Angelo of Quora, entrepreneur Tasha McCauley, and Helen Toner from the Georgetown Center for Security and Emerging Technology.

Microsoft, a key partner and investor in OpenAI, reaffirmed its commitment to the organization and its interim leadership, highlighting the ongoing collaboration in AI development.

Altman, recognized as a prodigy in Silicon Valley since his early twenties, was previously appointed president of the startup incubator YCombinator by co-founder Paul Graham, who praised Altman’s profound understanding and effectiveness in the startup domain.

OpenAI began as a nonprofit with goals to benefit humanity through AI, financially supported by figures like Elon Musk. It transitioned to a for-profit entity, Open AI LP, in 2018, shifting its focus towards GPT language model development. Around this period, Musk resigned from the board, citing potential conflicts with Tesla’s autonomous driving projects.

This report was contributed to by Big Big News business journalists Haleluya Hadero in New York, Kelvin Chan in London, and Michael Liedtke and David Hamilton in San Francisco.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about OpenAI Leadership Change

Why did Sam Altman step down as CEO of OpenAI?

Sam Altman was removed from his position as CEO of OpenAI by the company’s board, citing issues with his consistency in being candid in communications with them. This led to a loss of confidence in his ability to lead.

Who has taken over as interim CEO of OpenAI after Sam Altman?

Mira Murati, the Chief Technology Officer of OpenAI, has been appointed as the interim CEO following Sam Altman’s departure.

What were the reasons behind Sam Altman’s alleged lack of candor at OpenAI?

The specific reasons for Sam Altman’s alleged lack of candor have not been disclosed by OpenAI. The company stated that his behavior hindered the board’s ability to perform its duties effectively.

What did Sam Altman say about his departure from OpenAI?

Sam Altman reflected positively on his time at OpenAI in a post, expressing gratitude for the experience and the talented people he worked with. He mentioned that he would discuss his future plans later.

Has there been any change in OpenAI’s board composition following these events?

Greg Brockman, the president and board chairman of OpenAI, will step down as chairman but remain in his role at the company. The board includes Ilya Sutskever, Adam D’Angelo, Tasha McCauley, and Helen Toner.

How has Microsoft, a key business partner of OpenAI, responded to these changes?

Microsoft, a major investor in OpenAI, stated that the transition in leadership at OpenAI does not affect its long-term partnership and commitment to the organization and its new interim leadership.

More about OpenAI Leadership Change

  • OpenAI Leadership Changes
  • Sam Altman’s Departure from OpenAI
  • Mira Murati Appointed Interim CEO
  • OpenAI Board’s Decision on CEO Change
  • Microsoft’s Response to OpenAI Leadership Transition
  • OpenAI’s Evolution and Strategic Direction

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