On Friday, the ChatGPT-producing company Open AI announced that it has removed its co-founder and CEO, Sam Altman, from his position. This decision came after a review revealed that he was not consistently honest in his communication with the board.
OpenAI stated that the board no longer trusts his capability to continue as their leader.
Effective immediately, Mira Murati, the current chief technology officer of OpenAI, will serve as interim CEO while the company conducts a search for a permanent successor.
A representative from OpenAI refused to respond to inquiries regarding the reason for Altman’s supposed dishonesty. The statement mentioned that his actions were impeding the board’s ability to fulfill its duties.
Altman posted Friday on X, formerly Twitter: “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.”
The Associated Press and OpenAI have entered into a licensing and technology agreement that grants OpenAI access to a portion of AP’s text archives.
In 2015, Altman played a role in founding OpenAI as a non-profit research facility.
Over the last year, he gained significant attention on a global scale as the representative of OpenAI and the growing interest in AI, following the popularity of ChatGPT. During a recent world tour, he was enthusiastically surrounded by fans at a London event.
He has collaborated with numerous world leaders to deliberate on the potential and risks of AI. Most recently, on Thursday, he participated in a CEO conference at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation held in San Francisco, the location of OpenAI.
He anticipated that AI would be “the most significant advancement among all major technological revolutions we have experienced.” However, he also recognized the necessity for safeguards to shield humanity from the potential danger brought by this technology.
As a part of the transition that was announced on Friday, Greg Brockman, the president and board chairman of OpenAI, will be stepping down from his position as chairman of the board. However, he will continue to work at the company and report to the CEO. The statement did not provide any reasoning for this change.
The organization announced that its board is comprised of four members: Ilya Sutskever, Chief Scientist of OpenAI, and three individuals who are not employed by the company: Adam D’Angelo, CEO of Quora, tech entrepreneur Tasha McCauley, and Helen Toner from the Georgetown Center for Security and Emerging Technology.
Microsoft, a major investor in OpenAI and provider of computing resources for their AI technology, stated on Friday that the change in leadership will not impact their partnership.
Microsoft stated in an email that they have a longstanding partnership with OpenAI and are dedicated to supporting Mira and their team as they usher in the next generation of AI for their customers.
Although he is not formally trained as an AI engineer, at the age of 38, Altman has been regarded as a prodigy in Silicon Valley since his early 20s. In 2014, he was recruited by Paul Graham, a venture capitalist and co-founder of YCombinator, to lead the startup incubator.
Graham announced in 2014 that Altman would be the president of the incubator, stating that Altman is one of the most intelligent individuals he knows and has a deep understanding of startups. Graham also mentioned that Altman possesses the rare qualities of being highly efficient while also maintaining a kind nature.
OpenAI started out as a nonprofit when it launched in December 2015 with financial backing from Tesla CEO Elon Musk and others. Its stated aims were to “advance digital intelligence in the way that is most likely to benefit humanity as a whole, unconstrained by a need to generate financial return.”
In 2018, there was a shift in the company when it included a for-profit division called Open AI LP. This resulted in most of its employees transitioning to the business. This happened shortly after the release of its first GPT language model, which was capable of generating coherent paragraphs of text. Around the same time, Musk, who was previously co-chair of the board with Altman, stepped down from his position. The startup explained this decision as a way to avoid any potential conflicts in the future due to Tesla’s involvement in developing automated driving systems.
Although OpenAI’s board has maintained its nonprofit governance system, the company it manages has been focusing more on leveraging its technology for commercial purposes by customizing its widely-used chatbot for corporate clients.
During its initial developer conference, Altman was the primary presenter outlining a vision for a future where AI agents could assist individuals with various tasks. However, a few days after, he revealed that the company would need to temporarily halt new subscriptions for its premium version of ChatGPT due to reaching maximum capacity.
According to Forrester analyst Rowan Curran, Altman’s sudden departure does not indicate any issues with OpenAI’s operations.
Curran stated that the executive transition was likely due to problems with the specific individual, rather than any issues with the technology or business itself.
This report was contributed to by business writers from the Associated Press, including Haleluya Hadero in New York, Kelvin Chan in London, and Michael Liedtke and David Hamilton in San Francisco.