Sam Altman, who as CEO of OpenAI gave the world ChatGPT and became one of the most influential people in technology, has departed the company after losing the confidence of its board.
A company statement says that a review “concluded that he was not consistently candid in his communications with the board, hindering its ability to exercise its responsibilities.” Mira Murati, previously OpenAI’s chief technology officer, was appointed interim CEO while OpenAI searches for a full-time replacement, the statement says.
Altman did not respond to a request for comment. OpenAI declined to comment.
The announcement said that Greg Brockman, who cofounded OpenAI with Altman alongside leading names in AI and technology including Elon Musk, would also step down from his role as chair of the company’s board.
No reason was given for Brockman’s change in position but he announced that he had resigned from the company several hours after the company’s statement. He shared an email sent to OpenAI staff on X. “I’m super proud of what we’ve all built since starting in my apartment 8 years ago,” the email said. “We’ve been through tough and great times together, accomplishing so much despite all the reasons it should have been impossible. But based on today’s news, I quit.”
An investor in OpenAI who spoke anonymously because they did not have full details of the board’s concerns said its statement suggested the gravity of Altman’s alleged lack of candor was significant and it’s possible the changeover could lead to employees heading elsewhere. OpenAI and AI rivals such as Google and Meta have intensified their competition for AI talent since ChatGPT’s debut last year.
The surprising capabilities of ChatGPT, such as solving complex puzzles and handling questions that appear to require human-like reasoning, stunned AI researchers, amazed the public, and triggered an arms race among big tech companies to build more powerful AI. The bot’s success turned Altman into a tech celebrity, consulted by world leaders on the future path of AI technology.
Altman appeared yesterday at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in San Francisco, telling hundreds of business and government leaders that AI systems could solve humanity’s most-pressing problems if their development were pursued responsibly.
“We’re on a path to self-destruction as a species right now,” he said, sitting alongside executives from Meta and Google. “We need new technology if we want to flourish for tens, hundreds of thousands, and millions of years more.”