Why ChatGPT-maker OpenAI fired CEO Sam Altman? What next?

OpenAI, the company that launched ChatGPT a year ago, on Friday said it fired its CEO Sam Altman as it no longer had confidence in his ability to lead the Microsoft-backed firm. Altman’s dismissal caught the tech world by surprise given his role as a prominent figure in the artificial intelligence revolution.

OpenAI CEO Sam Altman (AP)

Altman in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter, said that he loved his 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 said.

Why was Sam Altman sacked as OpenAI CEO?

The board of OpenAI – consisting of OpenAI chief scientist Ilya Sutskever, Quora CEO Adam D’Angelo, technology entrepreneur Tasha McCauley, and Georgetown Center for Security and Emerging Technology’s Helen Toner – sacked Altman after a review found that he was “not consistently candid in his communications” with the board. “The board no longer has confidence in his ability to continue leading OpenAI,” a statement by the artificial intelligence company said.

The statement added that the young CEO’s behaviour was “hindering” the board’s ability to exercise its responsibilities.

“OpenAI was deliberately structured to advance our mission: to ensure that artificial general intelligence benefits all humanity. The board remains fully committed to serving this mission. We are grateful for Sam’s many contributions to the founding and growth of OpenAI,” the company wrote in its blog post.

All about Sam Altman

  1. Born on April 22, 1985, in Chicago, Sam Altman is an American entrepreneur and investor and one of the most prominent figures in the AI world.
  2. The 38-year-old helped start OpenAI as a nonprofit research laboratory in 2015.
  3. Altman served as the chief executive officer of OpenAI from 2020 to 2023.
  4. He became a sensation with the release of ChatGPT – an artificial intelligence chatbot with unprecedented capabilities, churning out human-level content like poems or artwork in just seconds.
  5. He has previously served as the president of Y Combinator from 2011 to 2019. At the age of 19, Altman co-founded Loopt – a location-based social networking mobile application. He also served as the CEO of Reddit for eight days in 2014 after its CEO Yishan Wong resigned.

What next for OpenAI now?

According to the tech company, its chief technology officer Mira Murati will take over as the interim CEO effective immediately, adding that it is searching for a permanent replacement for Altman. “Given her long tenure and close engagement with all aspects of the company, including her experience in AI governance and policy, the board believes she is uniquely qualified for the role and anticipates a seamless transition while it conducts a formal search for a permanent CEO,” the company said in a statement.

Murati was made CTO of OpenAI last year.

Following the announcement, Murati said that she is “honored and humbled” to step into the leadership role at the company and urged employees to focus on their work, reported Bloomberg.

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