LATEST UPDATE: Sam Altman will not return as CEO of OpenAI
In a surprising move, OpenAI, the creative force behind the ChatGPT bot, has removed CEO Sam Altman, citing perceived communication lapses.
This announcement came less than 24 hours after Altman had represented the company at the APEC conference in San Francisco.
The company, responsible for groundbreaking advancements in artificial intelligence, has initiated a search for a new permanent CEO, according to a statement.
Greg Brockman, the President of OpenAI, instrumental in the launch of the artificial intelligence developer and has been key to the development of ChatGPT and other core products, has also stepped down.
The statement unveiled that Altman's exit comes after an exhaustive review, revealing that his communication style impeded the board's ability to fulfill its duties.
OpenAI has appointed Chief Technology Officer Mira Murati as the immediate stand-in chief, with a search underway for a permanent replacement. Murati has been a part of the San Francisco-based company’s leadership for five years.
Altman, a key figure representing the burgeoning AI industry, had earlier testified before Congress on new regulations for artificial intelligence.
On social media, Altman wrote that he had loved his time at the company. In a tweet on X, Altman said working at OpenAI “was transformative” for him and “hopefully the world.”
The news of Altman's removal rocked the tech industry as just last week he had unveiled ambitious plans at the startup's inaugural developer conference. During OpenAI DevDay, Altman announced upcoming innovations like GPT-4 Turbo and a GPT app store. He painted a vision for monetising OpenAI's research and bringing powerful AI to a wide audience.
Altman's decision last year to release the app paid off in ways he never imagined, catapulting the Missouri-born Stanford dropout to household name stardom.
Altman's abrupt exit also surprised supporters across the industry. "Sam Altman and Greg Brockman have my full support," tweeted Airbnb co-founder Brian Chesky. "I'm saddened by what's transpired. They, and the rest of the OpenAI team, deserve better." Chesky praised Altman as "one of the best founders of his generation" who made "an immense contribution to our industry."
Former Google boss Eric Schmidt lauded Altman as a hero, expressing anticipation for his future work and its incredible impact on billions of people.
"I can't wait to see what he does next. I, and billions of people, will benefit from his future work- it's going to be simply incredible," he wrote.
Established as a non-profit in 2015, OpenAI underwent a restructuring in 2019 and now boasts backing from Microsoft, with recent reports suggesting talks to sell shares valuing the company at over $80 billion.
Elon Musk, a founding co-chair of OpenAI alongside Altman, voiced criticism over the company's departure from its non-profit origins.
The board of directors includes notable figures like OpenAI Chief Scientist Ilya Sutskever, Quora CEO Adam D’Angelo, technology entrepreneur Tasha McCauley, and Helen Toner from the Georgetown Center for Security and Emerging Technology.