ChatGPT-maker OpenAI said it has pushed out its co-founder and CEO Sam Altman after a review found he was “not consistently candid in his communications” with the board of directors.
“The board no longer has confidence in his ability to continue leading OpenAI,” the artificial intelligence company said in a statement.
Mira Murati, OpenAI’s chief technology officer, will take over as interim CEO effective immediately, the company said, while it searches for a permanent replacement.
In the year since Altman catapulted ChatGPT to global fame, he has become Silicon Valley’s sought-after voice on the promise and potential dangers of artificial intelligence and his sudden and mostly unexplained exit brought uncertainty to the industry’s future.
The announcement also said another OpenAI co-founder and top executive, Greg Brockman, the board’s chairman, would be stepping down from that role but remain at the company, where he serves as president. But later on X, formerly Twitter, Brockman wrote, “Based on today’s news, I quit.”
OpenAI declined to answer questions on what Altman’s alleged lack of candour was about. The statement said his behaviour was hindering the board’s ability to exercise its responsibilities.
Altman posted Friday on X: “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.”
Altman helped start OpenAI as a nonprofit research laboratory in 2015. But it was ChatGPT’s explosion into the public consciousness that thrust Altman into the spotlight as a face of generative AI — technology that can produce novel imagery, passages of text and other media. On a world tour this year, he was mobbed by a crowd of adoring fans at an event in London.
The company said its board consists of OpenAI’s chief scientist, Ilya Sutskever, and three non-employees: Quora CEO Adam D’Angelo, tech entrepreneur Tasha McCauley, and Helen Toner of the Georgetown Center for Security and Emerging Technology.
OpenAI’s key business partner, Microsoft, which has invested billions of dollars into the startup and helped provide the computing power to run its AI systems, said that the transition won’t affect its relationship.
“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,” said an emailed Microsoft statement.
While not trained as an AI engineer, Altman, now 38, has been seen as a Silicon Valley wunderkind since his early 20s. He was recruited in 2014 to take the lead of the startup incubator YCombinator.