The board of directors for OpenAI announced that Sam Altman, the company’s CEO and one of the most public faces behind the generative AI movement, was departing the company.
The ouster was a shocking fall for the 38-year tech star who helped found the company in 2015.
The company announcement stated, “Mr. 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.”
Mira Murati, the company’s Chief Technology Officer, was promoted to Interim CEO.
Altman, along with Elon Musk, helped to fund the scientists behind OpenAI whose initial mission was a non-profit organization to research AI using open-source code.
Musk and Altman were both on the initial company board of directors but Musk departed a few years later as the company considered funding from Microsoft.
Altman took over as CEO in 2020 and helped guide the company out of the non-profit world with the public release of ChatGPT 3.0 in 2022 and securing $13 billion in funding from Microsoft.
This began the current gold rush into generative AI and took the company’s value to an estimated $90 billion, a sales-to-valuation ratio of 90 which is far higher than other high-flyers SpaceX or Nvidia.
Altman presented the company strategy recently at the company’s DevDay event which saw many major new releases including private GPTs with which developers could create small generative AI tools themselves.
This new strategy was seen as setting the company up to undercut Microsoft’s big plans of embedding ChatGPT into many Microsoft products and its work to help companies safely use AI inside their firewalls.
It is unclear if these new releases led to the board’s lack of confidence in Altman’s leadership and ultimate removal.