Sam Altman, co-founder of OpenAI, has been dismissed from his role as CEO by the company’s board. This decision, announced on November 17, 2023, followed a review by the board which determined that Altman was not consistently candid in his communications with other board members, a factor that hindered the board’s ability to perform its duties effectively. The board expressed a lack of confidence in Altman’s ability to continue leading OpenAI, leading to his departure from the company and its board of directors.
This leadership change also involves Greg Brockman, another co-founder of OpenAI, who will step down as chairman of the board but remain as president of the company. Mira Murati, who previously served as OpenAI’s Chief Technology Officer, has been appointed as the interim CEO. The company has begun the process of searching for a permanent CEO.
The board reaffirmed its commitment to OpenAI’s mission of advancing artificial general intelligence to benefit humanity, acknowledging Altman’s contributions to the company’s founding and growth. However, it emphasized the need for new leadership to guide the company forward. Murati, with her experience leading the company’s research, product, and safety functions, is seen as exceptionally qualified for the role of interim CEO.
Altman co-founded OpenAI alongside notable figures such as Peter Thiel and Reid Hoffman. He played a significant role in steering the company since its inception, including efforts to influence regulatory responses to AI and meeting with world leaders to discuss AI policies. The circumstances of Altman’s alleged missteps leading to his ouster remain unclear, though they appear to relate to OpenAI’s unique board structure and governance, as well as ongoing discussions to raise new capital.
OpenAI, initially founded as a nonprofit in 2015, was restructured in 2019 into a “capped-profit” company, acknowledging the substantial costs associated with training advanced AI systems. Microsoft, a major investor in OpenAI, was reportedly notified of Altman’s departure shortly before the public announcement. Despite this leadership shake-up, Microsoft has expressed its continued commitment to its partnership with OpenAI and its support for Murati and her team.
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