OpenAI CEO Sam Altman was pushed out by the company behind ChatGPT in a shocking shakeup after a review determined he was “not consistently candid in his communications with the board,” the Microsoft-backed firm said Friday.
The leading AI firm did not elaborate on Altman’s missteps that led to his resignation – noting only in a press release that the board “no longer has confidence in his ability to continue leading OpenAI.”
“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, hindering its ability to exercise its responsibilities,” the company said in its release.
Altman, 38, did not reveal the reason behind his dismissal, but vowed he would have more to say about what’s next in a tweet shortly after the news broke.
“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,” Altman wrote on X, formerly Twitter.
OpenAI said its chief technology officer Mira Murati would serve as the company’s interim CEO effective immediately. Meanwhile, board chairman Greg Brockman will step down as chairman of the board, though he will remain the company’s president.
“We are grateful for Sam’s many contributions to the founding and growth of OpenAI,” the board of directors said 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,” the board added.
OpenAI declined to comment.
Altman’s abrupt exit comes amid a heated race in the development of advanced AI products. Earlier this month, he had revealed at an OpenAI event that ChatGPT has surpassed 100 million active weekly users in the year since its launch.
The face for the AI movement co-founded the company around eight years ago as a small nonprofit and has turned it into one that is valued at tens of billions of dollars.
Its efforts have been bolstered by Microsoft, which has poured $13 billion into the firm for a 49% stake in the company amid intense competition with rivals such as Google. The Information recently reported that OpenAI was offering packages worth as much as $10 million to lure top AI talent away from Google.
“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 said.
OpenAI and other firms face mounting regulatory scrutiny on Capitol Hill, where lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have called for the implementation of laws governing the use of AI.
In May, Altman expressed his support for federal AI regulation during an appearance on Capitol Hill, where he testified that rules were needed to prevent “significant harm to the world.”
Altman also raised eyebrows earlier this year by signing a statement that declared AI as a potential existential risk on par with nuclear weapons and pandemics if not properly guided.