On Friday, November 17, 2023, OpenAI, the company behind ChatGPT, made a surprising move by removing Sam Altman, the CEO of OpenAI, from his position. Altman, often seen as the public representative of generative AI, faced an unexpected departure that reverberated throughout the tech sector.
OpenAI has announced that Mira Murati, the Chief Technology Officer, will step in as the interim CEO following the removal of Sam Altman. The company also stated its intention to initiate a formal search for a permanent CEO.
The sudden change in leadership at OpenAI caught many employees off guard. The unexpected management shuffle was revealed to them through an internal announcement and the company’s public blog.
According to OpenAI’s blog post, “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.”
Greg Brockman, the president and co-founder of OpenAI, who had stepped down from the board as chairman in the recent management reshuffle, announced his resignation from the company on the messaging platform X late on Friday. In response to the day’s developments, he simply stated, “Based on today’s news, I quit.”
Backed by substantial financial support from Microsoft, OpenAI sparked the generative AI trend in November with the launch of ChatGPT. This chatbot quickly gained prominence, emerging as one of the rapidly growing software applications globally.
Generative AI, powered by extensive data training, can generate fresh, human-like content, aiding users in tasks such as drafting term papers, completing science homework, and even composing entire novels.
Altman, a serial entrepreneur and investor who previously led Y Combinator, played a pivotal role as the face of OpenAI and the widely acclaimed generative AI technology.
He toured the world throughout the year, representing the company and showcasing the innovative advancements in generative AI technology.
Shortly after OpenAI released its blog post, Altman took to X and shared his sentiments: “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.”
Murati, with previous experience at Tesla, joined OpenAI in 2018 and eventually assumed the role of Chief Technology Officer. She played a key role in overseeing product launches, including the introduction of ChatGPT.
During an emergency all-hands meeting on Friday afternoon following the announcement, Murati aimed to reassure employees.
According to a source familiar with the matter, Murati emphasized that OpenAI’s partnership with Microsoft remains stable.
Executives from Microsoft, including CEO Satya Nadella, reportedly continue to express confidence in the startup despite the recent changes.
In a statement on Microsoft’s website, Satya Nadella added, “We have a long-term agreement with OpenAI… Together, we will continue to deliver the meaningful benefits of this technology to the world.”