OpenAI, the parent company of ChatGPT, fired its CEO and cofounder Sam Altman on Friday, stating that he was “not consistently candid in his communications with the board,” according to a press release. Later Friday afternoon, the company’s president and fellow cofounder Greg Brockman quit.
The company’s chief technology officer Mira Murati will serve as interim CEO starting Frida, as the board searches for a permanent CEO.
“We are grateful for Sam’s many contributions to the founding and growth of OpenAI,” the board wrote in a statement. “At the same time, we believe new leadership is necessary as we move forward. As the leader of the company’s research, product, and safety functions, Mira is exceptionally qualified to step into the role of interim CEO. We have the utmost confidence in her ability to lead OpenAI during this transition period.”
According to the press release, Altman’s removal follows a “deliberative review process by the board,” which found that “he was not consistently candid in his communications with the board, hindering its ability to exercise its responsibilities. The board no longer has confidence in his ability to continue leading OpenAI.”
Brockman announced that he was quitting on X, sharing the message that he had sent earlier to the OpenAI team. While saying he was proud of their work, he added, “but based on today’s news, i quit.” The post also quoted Sam Altman’s earlier post about leaving OpenAI.
The earlier press release had stated that the leadership transition would include Greg Brockman, who served as chairman of the board, and that he would remain in his role at the company and report to the CEO.
— Greg Brockman (@gdb) November 18, 2023
Shortly after the news broke of his departure, Altman posted on X, “i loved my time at openai. it was transformative for me personally, and hopefully the world a little bit.”
Altman noted that he “will have more to say about what’s next,” sometime in the near future.
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.
— Sam Altman (@sama) November 17, 2023
Altman was a cofounder of OpenAI and served as cochair alongside Elon Musk. In 2018, however, Musk departed the company in an effort to avoid a conflict of interest with Tesla.
Just last week Altman attended the company’s first developer conference, where he said that instead of removing copyrighted material from ChatGPT’s training, the company is offering to cover customers’ legal fees for copyright infringement lawsuits.
The board of directors for the AI company includes OpenAI chief scientist Ilya Sutskever, as well as independent directors Quora CEO Adam D’Angelo, technology entrepreneur Tasha McCauley and Georgetown Center for Security and Emerging Technology’s Helen Toner.
In September, a number of prominent fiction authors including John Grisham, George R.R. Martin, Jodi Picoult, Elin Hilderbrand and others joined the Authors Guild in filing a class action lawsuit against OpenAI, alleging copyright infringement, particularly in the training of the tool.
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