The company overseeing ChatGPT, led by OpenAI’s board, terminated CEO Sam Altman on November 17, marking a significant change in the tech landscape.
Mira Murati, OpenAI’s Chief Technology Officer, steps in as interim CEO while the company initiates a search for a permanent replacement.
The sudden management shift blindsided employees, with the announcement coming through internal channels and the company’s public blog.
According to OpenAI’s blog, Altman’s departure followed a board review citing inconsistencies in his communications, impeding the board’s ability to fulfill its duties. Greg Brockman, the company’s president and co-founder who resigned from the board, also announced his departure in response to the news.
OpenAI, backed by substantial investment from Microsoft, sparked the generative AI trend with ChatGPT’s launch, prompting regulatory adjustments in the EU and instigating AI regulation efforts in the U.S.
Altman, a known figure in entrepreneurship and investment, was the face of OpenAI and its widely popular generative AI technology, actively promoting it worldwide.
In response to the blog post, Altman expressed gratitude for his time at OpenAI but did not elaborate on future plans. Both Altman and OpenAI remained unavailable for further comments.
Murati, previously associated with Tesla, joined OpenAI in 2018 and played a pivotal role in overseeing product launches, including ChatGPT.
At an urgent staff meeting, Murati assured employees about OpenAI’s stability through its partnership with Microsoft, a sentiment echoed by a Microsoft spokesperson and CEO Satya Nadella.
The news drew mixed reactions across digital platforms. Former Google CEO Eric Schmidt praised Altman’s achievements, while analysts speculated on the impact of his departure on OpenAI’s fundraising and Microsoft’s influence.
Despite concerns about short-term funding challenges, analysts believe in the sustained momentum of generative AI and the resilience of OpenAI and Microsoft’s joint initiatives.
Altman’s public appearances a day before his termination showed no signs of distress, leaving attendees unaware of the impending change.