“This is a shocker and Altman was a key ingredient in the recipe for success of OpenAI,” ~ Daniel Ives, Analyst at Wedbush.
The OpenAI board fired chief executive officer (CEO) Sam Altman, a key figure in generative AI, creating a stir in the tech world on Friday. Mira Murati, OpenAI’s chief technology officer, will take over as interim CEO while a search for a permanent CEO is underway. In a related move, Greg Brockman, OpenAI president and co-founder, resigned from his role and the company, announcing his decision on the messaging platform X.
OpenAI cited the board’s decision was based on a review process, concluding Altman wasn’t consistently transparent with them, affecting their oversight responsibilities. The OpenAI board now consists of three independent directors without equity stakes and Chief Scientist Ilya Sutskever.
Sam Altman, a prominent entrepreneur and investor known for his leadership at Y Combinator, became a face of OpenAI and its technologies. He expressed his appreciation for his time at OpenAI in a post on X. This major management shift caught many, including employees, Altman, and Brockman, by surprise, with the latter learning about it just minutes before the announcement.
The long-term effects of this are yet to be realized, but the immediate concern lies in OpenAI’s fundraising capabilities. Sam Altman, renowned for his exceptional fundraising skills, successfully secured billions in investment from Microsoft and led the company through tender offer transactions this year. These efforts significantly increased OpenAI’s valuation from $29 billion to more than $80 billion.
Murati, a Tesla alum who joined OpenAI in 2018 and became CTO, has been instrumental in significant product launches including ChatGPT. Following the leadership change, she reassured employees in an emergency meeting about OpenAI’s stable partnership with Microsoft and continued support from its executives, including CEO Satya Nadella.
OpenAI, heavily backed by Microsoft yet operating independently from it, has been a pioneer in generative AI with the launch of ChatGPT. The chatbot’s success prompted regulatory actions both in the European Union and the U.S. Microsoft reaffirmed its commitment to OpenAI and its new leadership, as stated by a company spokesperson and echoed in a statement by Nadella on Microsoft’s website.