Once the face of OpenAI, CEO and co-founder Sam Altman was ousted from the tech company on Saturday, 18 November, after its board of directors said that it "no longer has confidence in his [Altman's] ability to continue leading OpenAI."
In a blog post, the OpenAI board said that following a deliberative review process, it has "concluded that he [Altman] was not consistently candid in his communications with the board, hindering its ability to exercise its responsibilities."
It also announced that Altman's office will now be temporarily occupied by Mira Murati, the company’s chief technology officer, who will serve as interim CEO while OpenAI "conducts a formal search for a permanent CEO."
"We are grateful for 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 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.”OpenAI blog post
OpenAI Exec, Senior Researchers Follow Altman Out
Following the board's announcement, Altman said, "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,” he added on X (formerly Twitter).
However Altman wasn't the only high-ranking executive to head towards the door. OpenAI's statement initially said that co-founder Greg Brockman also stepped down from his role as the chair of the board.
But later, Brockman took to X to announce that he had quit the company "after learning today's news."
OpenAI researchers Jakub Pachocki, Aleksander Madry and Szymon Sidor have also resigned after Altman's ouster, Reuters reported.
Interim OpenAI CEO Mira Murati has been a part of the San Francisco-based company’s leadership for five years and "has played a critical role in OpenAI’s evolution into a global AI leader," as per the statement.
"She brings a unique skill set, understanding of the company’s values, operations, and business, and already leads the company’s research, product, and safety functions," the statement added.
How Did OpenAI's Biggest Investor Take the News?
Microsoft, which has bet $13 billion dollars so far on the ChatGPT creator, said that it's partnership with OpenAI will continue. “We have a long-term partnership with OpenAI and Microsoft remains committed to Mira and their team as we bring this next era of AI to our customers,” a Microsoft spokesperson told The Verge.
The statement was reaffirmed by Satya Nadella, the CEO of the big tech company.
"We have a long-term agreement with OpenAI with full access to everything we need to deliver on our innovation agenda and an exciting product roadmap; and remain committed to our partnership, and to Mira and the team," Nadella wrote on X.
Some Company History
Founded in 2015, OpenAI started out as a non-profit venture with Elon Musk as one of its co-chairs. But the Tesla boss quit the group in 2018, citing a conflict of interest.
In 2019, the company transitioned from a non-profit model to a 'capped-profit' business model.
Since then, OpenAI has become known for kick-starting the pandemonium around generative AI tools after releasing its popular ChatGPT chatbot in 2022. Besides the Large Language Model (LLM), OpenAI is also the tech company behind the text-to-image AI generator called DALL-E.
Excluding Altman and Brockman, the firm's board of directors comprises:
OpenAI Chief Scientist Ilya Sutskever
Quora CEO Adam D’Angelo
GeoSim Systems former CEO Tasha McCauley
Georgetown Center for Security and Emerging Technology's Strategy Director Helen Toner
In April this year, OpenAI raised $300 million from venture capitalists and was valued between $27-$29 billion dollars, according to TechCrunch.