Sam Altman, the Chief Executive Officer of OpenAI, will be stepping down from his role as CEO, according to an announcement made by OpenAI’s board of directors. Altman will be temporarily replaced by Mira Murati, the company’s Chief Technology Officer.
The decision to replace Altman comes after a thorough review process conducted by the board. They concluded that Altman had not been consistently open and transparent in his communications with them, which hindered the board’s ability to carry out its responsibilities effectively. As a result, the board has expressed a loss of confidence in Altman’s leadership.
OpenAI’s board consists of esteemed individuals, including chief scientist Ilya Sutskever, independent directors such as Quora CEO Adam D’Angelo, technology entrepreneur Tasha McCauley, and Helen Toner from the Georgetown Center for Security and Emerging Technology. OpenAI emphasizes that the board, as a 501(c)(3) organization, serves as the overall governing body for all of OpenAI’s activities.
As Altman acknowledged his departure from OpenAI in a post, he did not address the specific accusations made by the board regarding his lack of candor during certain reviews. Altman expressed his affection for working at the company but did not provide further details on his future plans.
Regarding the appointment of Mira Murati as the interim CEO, OpenAI expressed confidence in her ability to lead during this transition period. Murati is highly qualified, given her leadership in the company’s research, product, and safety functions.
OpenAI, which has raised billions of dollars in investments, including from Microsoft, attained significant recognition when its AI chatbot, ChatGPT, was released to the public in 2022. The service quickly gained popularity for its ability to convert simple text into engaging conversations. It also prompted major tech companies like Alphabet and Meta to increase their investments in generative AI.
Following the announcement, Microsoft’s shares experienced a decline of 1.7%, closing at $369.84. However, a Microsoft spokesperson expressed the company’s commitment to OpenAI and its partnership with Mira and the team, as they work together to bring forth the next era of AI.
Greg Brockman, OpenAI’s president, also shared a post informing his former colleagues that he has stepped down as the chairman of the board but will continue in his current role at the company, reporting to the CEO.
Sam Altman’s departure from OpenAI marks a significant change. Initially, OpenAI received notable backing from Tesla CEO Elon Musk, who committed $1 billion to the project. Altman, previously the president of startup accelerator Y Combinator, became recognized as an early-stage investor in Silicon Valley. He also founded the social networking company Loopt earlier in his career.
As OpenAI gained popularity alongside ChatGPT’s success, Altman rose as a prominent figure, representing the expanding AI industry worldwide. He was awarded the “Golden Visa” by Indonesia and advocated for the regulation of AI in speeches and testimonies before the U.S. Senate.