- Added statement from Sam Altman
- Added statement from Greg Brockman
- Added memo from Brad Lightcap
Update, November 18, 2023:
The New York Times' Kevin Roose says he has access to an internal message from Brad Lightcap, an OpenAI executive. Lightcap told employees on Saturday morning that there had been a conversation between the company and the board.
He said the board's decision had nothing to do with OpenAI's financial, business, security, or privacy practices. It was a communication issue between Sam Altman and the board. Lightcap does not provide further details. It remains unclear exactly why Altman was fired, Roose writes.
Update, November 18, 2023:
Contrary to OpenAI's announcement, Greg Brockman is also leaving OpenAI of his own accord. That Brockman learned of Altman's departure on the same day it happened, and that OpenAI miscommunicated his future role, is an indicator that something really went wrong.
The former Stripe CTO co-founded OpenAI with Elon Musk and Sam Altman in 2015. Brockman has led several projects at OpenAI, including OpenAI Gym and OpenAI Five, a Dota 2 bot. In March 2023, Brockman unveiled GPT-4.
In a surprise move, former OpenAI CEO and company spokesman Sam Altman has been relieved of his duties and is leaving the company.
OpenAI's current Chief Technology Officer (CTO), Mira Murati, will assume the role of interim CEO effective immediately.
Commenting on Altman's departure, OpenAI's remaining board of directors said, "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."
The decision to replace Altman follows a review by the board of directors. According to OpenAI, Altman has not been "consistently candid in his communications with the board" and his ability to carry out his responsibilities has been compromised. The board no longer has confidence in his ability to continue to lead OpenAI.
OpenAI co-founder Greg Brockman will step down as chairman of the board. However, he will remain with the company and report to the CEO in his role.
OpenAI's board of directors consists of OpenAI Chief Scientist Ilya Sutskever, independent directors Adam D'Angelo, CEO of Quora, technology entrepreneur Tasha McCauley, and Helen Toner of the Georgetown Center for Security and Emerging Technology. The majority of the board is independent, and the independent directors hold no shares in OpenAI.
Altman wrote on Twitter.com that his time at OpenAI was "transformative for me personally, and hopefully the world a little bit," without giving a reason for his sudden departure.
CTO Murati takes over as interim CEO
According to OpenAI, Murati has been part of the company's leadership team for five years and has played a critical role in its transformation into a global AI company.
She already oversees research, product and security, and has experience in AI governance and policy.
OpenAI's Board of Directors recognizes her unique skills and understanding of OpenAI's values, processes, and business. During her time as interim CEO, a formal search for a permanent CEO will be conducted.
In June, German broadcaster Bayerischer Rundfunk reported, that OpenAI was losing key employees to Google, in part because of internal criticism of Altman. At the time, the BR said its information came from interviews with former and current OpenAI employees.
The report claims that Altman was criticized for having a superficial knowledge of AI and not being involved in the day-to-day operations of the company. His self-criticism and calls for regulation were merely political posturing.
Twitter user Jimmy Apples, who has repeatedly leaked insider information about OpenAI, also reported in late October that the "vibe" at OpenAI had changed and that the company was in danger of losing key personnel.