OpenAI fired its CEO and co-founder, Sam Altman. The artificial intelligence company announced a change of direction where Altman will step down as CEO effective immediately. Mira Murati, the company’s chief technology officer, will take the position on an interim basis.
“The Board of Directors of OpenAI, Inc., the 501(c)(3) that serves as the overall governing body for all OpenAI activities, today announced that Sam Altman will step down as CEO and leave the board of directors”, the company indicated in a post on its blog.
“Sam Altman’s departure occurs after an internal review process by the board of directors, which has concluded that he was not truthful at all times in his communications, hindering his ability to exercise his responsibilities. The board of directors no longer has confidence in their abilities to continue leading OpenAI.”
OpenAI gave the vote of confidence to Mira Murati, who has served as CTO and is responsible for ChatGPT. “Mira brings a unique skill set, understanding of the company’s values, operations and business, and already leads the research, product and security functions,” she mentioned.
The company noted that its mission is to ensure that artificial general intelligence (AGI) benefits all humanity and believes that a change of leadership is necessary. Sam Altman’s departure comes just a few days after leading his first DevDay developer conference, where he presented GPT-4 Turbo and GPTs. At that event, Altman revealed that ChatGPT already had 100 million weekly users.
Why OpenAI fired Sam Altman
According to the official statement, OpenAI fired Sam Altman because it no longer trusts him. After conducting a review process, he discovered that he was not truthful in his communications with the board of directors. The company does not mention specific incidents, although it offers some clues about the departure of its co-founder.
The statement indicates that OpenAI was founded with the primary mission of ensuring that artificial general intelligence benefits humanity. The company underwent restructuring in order to guarantee the influx of capital to become profitable and achieve its objective. The Microsoft’s multi-billion dollar investment at the beginning of 2023 represented a milestone, however, it was not enough.
“While the company has experienced spectacular growth, it remains the fundamental responsibility of the board of directors to promote the mission of OpenAI and preserve the principles of its Charter”
OpenAI emphasizes concepts like research, product development and safety as the axis of its strategy moving forward. Because Sam Altman is no longer trusted, the most qualified to lead during this transition process is Mia Murati, Chief Technology Officer.
The board of directors declared that Murati is “exceptionally qualified for the position,” although it will only be temporary. OpenAI confirmed that its CTO will serve as interim while they carry out aA formal search for a permanent CEO.
Sam Altman will not be the only one affected by the restructuring. OpenAI confirmed that Greg Brockman will step down as chairman of the board, although he will retain his position at the company.
Money changed priorities
OpenAI was founded as a nonprofit in 2015, when Sam Altman and Elon Musk committed to advancing technology for the benefit of humanity. Things changed in 2019, when Microsoft invested 1 billion dollars and announced an exclusive multi-year partnership.
In an attempt to raise funds to advance the development of artificial general intelligence, OpenAI left aside its main mission. Sam Altman, who accelerated startups for several years at Y Combinator, turned OpenAI into a for-profit company. The partnership with Microsoft and the focus on commercial products such as GPT-4, ChatGPT or DALL-E changed the organization’s perspective.
Elon Musk He resigned from OpenAI’s board of directors in 2018 citing potential conflicts of interest with Tesla. Years later, the magnate charged against Sam Altman and company by accusing them of accessing Twitter data for financial gain. “OpenAI was started as an open source, non-profit project. Neither is still true.” said.
A few months ago, Sam Altman revealed that he did not make money with OpenAI and that he did not have a shareholding in the company. The co-founder stated that he was paid enough to cover his medical care and that He did the job because he loved it..
Currently, OpenAI is divided into two entities: OpenAI Incorporated and OpenAI LP. The first is the non-profit organization founded in 2015, while the second is a limited profit subsidiary established in 2019 following the departure of Elon Musk. After the investment of 10,000 million dollars, Microsoft owns 49% of OpenAI LP.