ChatGPT-maker OpenAI sacks CEO Sam Altman, the human face of AI
- IBJ Bureau
- Nov 19, 2023
The board of the company behind ChatGPT on Friday fired OpenAI CEO Sam Altman – to many, the human face of generative AI – sending shockwaves across the tech industry.
OpenAI’s Chief Technology Officer Mira Murati would serve as interim CEO, the company said, adding that it would conduct a formal search for a permanent CEO.
“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,” OpenAI said in the blog without elaborating.
Greg Brockman, OpenAI’s president and co-founder, who stepped down from the board as chairman as a part of the management shuffle, quit the company, he announced on messaging platform X late on Friday. “Based on today’s news, I quit,” he wrote.
The departures blindsided many employees who discovered the abrupt management change from an internal message and the company’s public facing blog. It came as a surprise to Mr Altman and Mr Brockman as well, who learned that the board’s decision within minutes of the announcement, Brockman said.
Backed by billions of dollars from Microsoft, which does not have a board seat in the non-profit governing the startup, OpenAI had kicked off the generative AI craze last November by releasing ChatGPT. The chatbot became one of the world’s fastest-growing software applications.
Ms Murati, who had worked for Tesla, had joined OpenAI in 2018 and later became chief technology officer. She oversaw product launches, including that of ChatGPT.
At an emergency all-hands meeting on Friday afternoon after the announcement, Ms Murati sought to calm employees and said that OpenAI’s partnership with Microsoft was stable and its backer’s executives, including CEO Satya Nadella, continued to express confidence in the startup, a person familiar with the matter told the Reuters.