OpenAI Board Fires CEO Sam Altman, CTO Mira Murati Appointed Interim Chief
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OpenAI announced the departure of CEO Sam Altman with immediate affect citing concerns about his lack of leadership and communication.
In a decisive move, the board of directors at renowned artificial intelligence company OpenAI announced the departure of CEO Sam Altman. Simultaneously, the company announced that Mira Murati, Chief Technology Officer will now step into the role of interim CEO with immediate effect.
OpenAI’s said that Murati has been an integral part of its leadership team for half a decade, and has had substantial contributions to the company’s ascent as a global AI powerhouse.
While Murati currently oversees research, product development and safety functions — her expertise span operations and business too. Given her extensive tenure and comprehensive involvement in all facets of the company, including AI governance and policy, the board decided to qualify her for the interim CEO role.
Currently, OpenAI is conducting a formal search for a permanent successor.
“The leadership changes at OpenAI, while unexpected, are not uncommon in the tech industry when a company has launched a new, disruptive technology as OpenAI did with ChatGPT last year. This is especially true when the technology begins taking the company to the next level, with new challenges to be faced,” Alon Yamin, co-founder and CEO of Copyleaks, shared his view with Metaverse Post.
“But whether it be OpenAI, Google or another AI model parent company, the goal should remain the same for leadership: With AI, there is a responsibility for continued effort and focus around transparency, safety, and responsible adoption, from the individual user up to the largest corporation,” he added.
Why was Sam Altman Fired?
In a recent blog post, OpenAI blamed Sam Altman revealing concerns about his lack of consistent candor in communications, impeding the board’s ability to fulfill its responsibilities. The departure comes after a thorough review process by the board, expressing a loss of confidence in Altman’s capacity to continue leading OpenAI.
The board emphasized OpenAI’s deliberate structure to advance its mission of ensuring that artificial general intelligence benefits humanity, in an official statement. While acknowledging Altman’s significant contributions, the board asserts the necessity of new leadership.
Mira Murati’s elevation to interim CEO is viewed as a strategic move, given her leadership in the company’s crucial functions.
if i start going off, the openai board should go after me for the full value of my shares— Sam Altman (@sama) November 18, 2023
“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. We have the utmost confidence in her ability to lead OpenAI during this transition period,” said OpenAI’s board of directors, in a written statement.
OpenAI’s board includes Chief Scientist Ilya Sutskever, independent directors Quora CEO Adam D’Angelo, technology entrepreneur Tasha McCauley, and Helen Toner from the Georgetown Center for Security and Emerging Technology.
Greg Brockman, the outgoing chairman of the board, will step down from his role but remain with the company, reporting directly to the CEO.
“It’s a sudden reversal given that Altman was front and center at the DevDay event last week and has acted as the public voice for OpenAI since the launch of ChatGPT. We don’t know anything about the allegations from the board as yet, or what they might indicate about any weakening of the company’s momentum, though it seems likely that OpenAI will be able to weather the disruption,” Damian Rollison, Director of Marketing Insights at SOCi told Metaverse Post.
“It’s interesting to note that the board that made the decision cited the company’s original charter, when it was still a nonprofit entity, to “ensure that artificial intelligence benefits all humanity,” Rollison added.
Founded as a non-profit in 2015, OpenAI restructured in 2019 to facilitate capital raising while maintaining its mission, governance, and oversight. Despite substantial growth, the board underscores its primary responsibility of advancing OpenAI’s mission and upholding the principles of its Charter.
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