The AI company is now looking for a permanent successor to its ex-CEO.
The board of directors of OpenAI, the creator of the popular generative AI chatbot ChatGPT, on Nov. 17 announced that Sam Altman was departing the company, while Chief Technology Officer Mira Murati was appointed interim CEO.
Altman has served as a company executive for about three years. The reason for his departure, according to the press release was the board’s conclusion “that he was not consistently candid in his communications with the board, hindering its ability to exercise its responsibilities.”
According to the corporate statement, the board of directors remains dedicated to the company’s original mission to “ensure that artificial general intelligence benefits all humanity.” At the same time, they felt the startup required a change of leadership.
While OpenAI is looking for a permanent substitution for its former CEO, his duties are transferred to Mira Murati, the company’s chief technology officer. She has been a CTO for five years and already leads the company’s research, product, and safety functions.
“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,” wrote Sam Altman in a post on X.
Unusually for the executive of his rank, Altman didn’t have equity in OpenAI, making it possible for the board to fire him at any time.
The company’s board consists of OpenAI chief scientist Ilya Sutskever, independent directors Quora CEO Adam D’Angelo, technology entrepreneur Tasha McCauley, and Georgetown Center for Security and Emerging Technology’s Helen Toner.
Greg Brockman, the company’s director and co-founder, will be also stepping down as chairman of the board. He was offered to remain in his role at the company, reporting to the CEO. However, OpenAI’s co-founder decided to quit, after learning about Mr Altman’s departure.
Judging from the comment of Mr Brockman, the board’s decision was unexpected and abrupt. “Sam and I are shocked and saddened by what the board did today,” said Brockman.
Sam Altman’s other venture is crypto startup Tools for Humanity which leverages Worldcoin cryptocurrency to create digital identities for all global dwellers. With this purpose, the startup is collecting biometric data of citizens using Orb technology to scan their eyeballs.
Regulators across the globe find the startup’s activities suspicious and are investigating Worldcoin over privacy concerns. Authorities in France, Argentina and Kenya are taking various measures to prevent the spread of Worldcoin in their countries and check its legitimacy.