Explained: Why OpenAI Board Fired Co-Founder And CEO Sam Altman 

OpenAI CEO Sam Altman has also left the board of directors with immediate effect. He co-founded the firm along with Elon Musk and Greg Brockman in 2015
Sam Altman, OpenAI's CEO, at the launch of GPT-4 Turbo
Sam Altman, OpenAI's CEO, at the launch of GPT-4 Turbo Getty Images

In a shocking turn of events, OpenAI board announced on Friday night that it has decided to part ways with CEO Sam Altman, who co-founded the firm in 2015 along with Elon Musk and Greg Brockman. The company said in a blogpost that Altman will also leave the board of directors with immediate effect. OpenAI Chief Technology Officer (CTO) Mira Murati will take over as the interim CEO. 

OpenAI said in its statement, "We are grateful for Sam’s many contributions to the founding and growth of OpenAI. 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."

Altman took to X and wrote about his sudden departure from the firm. The post read, "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."

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The development comes just days after Altman had reportedly confirmed that OpenAI is working on GPT-5, the next advanced version of its popular generative AI model GPT. Notably, popular GenAI platform ChatGPT took off under the leadership of Altman. Since launching the chatbot in November last year, the company has gained popularity across the world. Earlier this year, Microsoft also extended its partnership with the company and invested over $10 billion.  

Why OpenAI Fired Its CEO Sam Altman

The board explained in the statement that the 38-year-old executive was not consistently "candid" in his conversations with the board of directors. As per the statement, this led to the board not being able to exercise its responsibilities. "The board no longer has confidence in his ability to continue leading OpenAI," it said.  

Not only Altman, but the leadership transition will also the chairperson of the board Greg Brockman leaving his role. However, he will continue to remain in the company. After the new changes, the board will consist 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. 

The company has reiterated its goal of ensuring AI benefits all of humanity in the coming years. It said, "It remains the fundamental governance responsibility of the board to advance OpenAI’s mission and preserve the principles of its Charter."

Reactions To OpenAI CEO Altman’s Firing 

For a tech leader who became the face of AI revolution recently to be fired in an abrupt manner has generated buzz amongst people across the globe.

Immediately after the move became public, shares of Microsoft saw a sharp fall. The tech giant’s shares fell over 1.68 per cent in a single day to close at $369.84.  

Former Google CEO Eric Schmidt took to X and wrote, "Sam Altman is a hero of mine. He built a company from nothing to $90 Billion in value, and changed our collective world forever. I can't wait to see what he does next. I, and billions of people, will benefit from his future work- it's going to be simply incredible."

While the news has generated quite a buzz, it isn’t clear yet what transpired behind the scenes which led to the sudden departure of Altman. However, the new development is expected to have a profound impact on the direction of OpenAI in the coming months.  

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