Are you ready to generate more awareness for your brand? Consider becoming a sponsor of The AI Impact Tour. Learn more about opportunities here.
Talk about a Friday news dump: In a shocking move, OpenAI, the company best known for ushering in the era of consumer-facing generative AI with ChatGPT and its GPT-3.5 and GPT large language models (LLMs) -4 underlying, announced today that it has taken the extraordinary step of immediately firing co-founder Sam Altman as CEO and replacing him with Chief Technology Officer Mira Murati, who will serve as interim CEO while the company searches for a full-time replacement.
The measure was taken by the OpenAI board of directors.
As a blog post on the OpenAI website about Altman reads: “He was not consistently candid in his communications with the board, which hampered his ability to exercise his responsibilities. The board no longer has confidence in his ability to continue leading OpenAI.”
Altman’s sudden removal comes shortly after OpenAI’s DevDay developer conference, at which the company unveiled a series of new innovations, including customizable user-generated GPTs, and amid continued public accusations of child abuse by his sister, Annie Altman.
The AI Impact Tour
Connect with the enterprise AI community at VentureBeat’s AI Impact Tour coming to a city near you!
However, Altman himself took a positive tone about his departure, posting on his personal X account that he “loved my time at openai” and alluding to a “next” chapter for him.
Former Google CEO Eric Schmidt was among those who praised Altman following the announcement of his departure, calling him a “hero.”
Another leadership change
The OpenAI blog post also noted that Greg Brockman will step down from his role as chairman of OpenAI’s board of directors, but will continue to serve as president of the company.
OpenAI’s board of directors is comprised of OpenAI chief scientist Ilya Sutskever, independent directors Quora CEO Adam D’Angelo, tech entrepreneur Tasha McCauley, and Helen Toner of Georgetown’s Center for Security and Emerging Technology. The board, until this transition, also included OpenAI co-founder and now former CEO Sam Altman, along with Brockman.
Under Altman, OpenAI achieved notable innovations such as its GPT LLMs, but also drew criticism over transparency and ethics issues as it rapidly expanded its capabilities.
The board stated that “OpenAI was deliberately structured to advance our mission: to ensure that artificial general intelligence benefits all of humanity.” They remain committed to this founding purpose.
Altman helped establish OpenAI in 2015 along with Brockman, chief scientist Ilya Sutskever, Elon Musk and others. He served as CEO for eight years and oversaw growth from an unknown startup to a leading AI powerhouse.
The board now believes that “new leadership is necessary as we move forward” to maintain focus on OpenAI’s mission during its next phase of development.
Murati has been at OpenAI for 5 years and currently oversees research, product development and security.
Read the full OpenAI blog post on the topic below:
CTO Mira Murati named interim CEO to lead OpenAI; Sam Altman leaves the company.
Search process underway to identify permanent successor.
The Board of Directors of OpenAI, Inc, the 501(c)(3) that serves as the overall governing body for all OpenAI activities, announced today that Sam Altman will step down as CEO and step down from the Board of Directors. Mira Murati, the company’s chief technology officer, will serve as interim CEO, effective immediately.
A member of OpenAI’s leadership team for five years, Mira has played a critical role in evolving OpenAI into a global leader in AI. She brings a unique skill set, understanding of the company’s values, operations and business, and already leads the company’s research, product and security functions. Given her long tenure and close commitment to all aspects of the company, including her experience in AI governance and policy, the board believes she is uniquely qualified for the position and anticipates a smooth transition while a formal search is underway. of a permanent executive director.
Mr. 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, which hindered his ability to exercise his responsibilities. The board no longer has confidence in his ability to continue leading OpenAI.
In a statement, the board of directors said: “OpenAI was deliberately structured to advance our mission: to ensure that artificial general intelligence benefits all of humanity. The board remains fully committed to fulfilling this mission. We appreciate Sam’s many contributions to the founding and growth of OpenAI. At the same time, we believe new leadership is necessary as we move forward. As the leader of the company’s research, product and security functions, Mira is uniquely qualified to assume the role of interim CEO. “We have the utmost confidence in her ability to lead OpenAI during this transition period.”
OpenAI’s board of directors consists of OpenAI chief scientist Ilya Sutskever, independent directors Quora CEO Adam D’Angelo, tech entrepreneur Tasha McCauley, and Helen Toner of Georgetown’s Center for Security and Emerging Technologies.
As part of this transition, Greg Brockman will step down from his role as Chairman of the Board of Directors and will remain in his position with the company, reporting to the CEO.
OpenAI was founded as a non-profit organization in 2015 with the primary mission of ensuring that artificial general intelligence benefits all of humanity. In 2019, OpenAI restructured to ensure the company could raise capital to achieve this mission, while preserving the nonprofit’s mission, governance, and oversight. The majority of the board is independent and the independent directors do not own shares in OpenAI. While the company has experienced spectacular growth, it remains the fundamental responsibility of the board of directors to promote OpenAI’s mission and preserve the principles of its Charter.
VentureBeat’s mission is to be a digital marketplace for technical decision makers to gain insights into transformative business technology and transact. Discover our Briefings.