OpenAI made headlines as it ousted its CEO, Sam Altman, following a review that revealed a lack of consistent candor in his communications with the board of directors.
Co-founders Sam Altman and Greg Brockman of OpenAI released a joint statement on Saturday, responding to the recent dismissal of their CEO and top executive. The decision to remove Altman was based on a review citing inconsistency in his communication with the board. Additionally, Brockman, the board’s chairman, announced stepping down but staying at the company in the role of president. However, in a subsequent post on X, he stated, “Based on today’s news, I quit.”
The joint statement, shared by Brockman on social media X, conveyed that both executives were taken aback by the board’s actions and claimed they were informed of their removal via Google Meet calls.
While expressing shock and sadness, Altman and Brockman detailed the sequence of events in the statement: “Last night, Sam got a text from Ilya asking to talk at noon Friday. Sam joined a Google Meet, and the whole board, except Greg, was there. Ilya told Sam he was being fired and that the news was going out very soon. At 12:19 p.m., Greg got a text from Ilya asking for a quick call. At 12:23 p.m., Ilya sent a Google Meet link. Greg was told that he was being removed from the board (but was vital to the company and would retain his role) and that Sam had been fired. Around the same time, OpenAI published a blog post.”
The outgoing executives acknowledged the outpouring of support but urged against unnecessary concern. They stated, “We will be fine. Greater things are coming soon.”
In a separate post on X, Altman expressed gratitude for the love received, describing the day as a “weird experience” and encouraging others to share their appreciation for friends.
Altman, a key figure in OpenAI since its establishment as a non-profit research laboratory in 2015, gained prominence with the success of ChatGPT. Despite challenges, he emphasized the positive impact of AI while recognizing the need for safeguards against potential dangers.
OpenAI’s primary business partner, Microsoft, assured that the leadership transition would not affect their partnership, emphasizing their commitment to OpenAI and its team.
In response to Altman’s departure, OpenAI’s chief technology officer, Mira Murati, will serve as interim CEO. Murati, who joined the company in 2018, played a crucial role in overseeing product launches, including ChatGPT. The company plans to conduct a formal search for a permanent CEO.
At an emergency meeting following the announcement, Murati reassured employees that the partnership with Microsoft remains stable, with support from Microsoft’s executives, including CEO Satya Nadella.