OpenAI CEO Sam Altman has been fired by the company responsible for ChatGPT in a shock shakeup, following a review that concluded he was "not consistently candid in his communications with the board," the Microsoft-backed firm said on Friday. The company announced that Chief Technology Officer Mira Murati would take on the role of interim CEO.
The company also revealed plans to conduct a formal search for a permanent chief executive. The prominent AI firm did not provide specific details about Altman's shortcomings that led to his resignation. In a press release, the board said on Friday that they "no longer have confidence in his ability to continue leading OpenAI."
Company Loses Confidence in Altman
"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," the company said in its release.
Altman, 38, also did not reveal the reason for his dismissal, but he pledged to share more information about his next steps in a tweet shortly after the news was announced.
"I loved my time at openai. it was transformative for me personally, and hopefully the world a little bit. most of all i loved working with such talented people," Altman wrote on X, formerly Twitter.
OpenAI announced that its Chief Technology Officer, Mira Murati, would assume the role of interim CEO with immediate effect.
"We are grateful for Sam's many contributions to the founding and growth of OpenAI," the board of directors said in a statement. "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," the board added.
The company further said that OpenAI President Greg Brockman would step down as the chairman of the board but continue in his current role, reporting to Murati.
The majority of the board is comprised of independent members, and these independent directors do not hold equity in OpenAI.
The remaining board includes OpenAI Chief Scientist Ilya Sutskever, along with independent directors such as Quora CEO Adam D'Angelo, technology entrepreneur Tasha McCauley, and Helen Toner from the Georgetown Center for Security and Emerging Technology.
Who Is Mira Murati?
Backed by substantial financial support from Microsoft, OpenAI initiated the generative AI trend in November by launching its ChatGPT chatbot, rapidly becoming one of the world's fastest-growing applications.
Generative AI, trained on extensive datasets, can generate entirely new content with human-like qualities. This technology has proven useful for users working on various tasks, from crafting term papers and completing science homework to composing entire novels.
As the face of OpenAI, Altman, a serial entrepreneur and investor who previously led Y Combinator, played a prominent role in showcasing the widespread appeal of generative AI technology. This innovative technology can produce human-like responses to queries, garnering significant popularity globally.
At the age of 38, Altman became a sensation in the tech industry when he unveiled ChatGPT, an artificial intelligence chatbot distinguished by its unparalleled capabilities, swiftly generating human-level content such as poems or artwork in mere seconds.
Altman's choice to launch the app last year yielded unexpected success, propelling the Stanford dropout from Missouri to widespread recognition as a household name.
The introduction of ChatGPT sparked a competition in the field of artificial intelligence, drawing participation from major tech players like Amazon, Google, Microsoft, and Meta.
However, he will now be replaced by Mira Murati.
Described as the ingenious force driving the creation of OpenAI's groundbreaking products such as ChatGPT and DALL-E, Murati's role has been pivotal in shaping the company's technological advancements.
Born and raised in Albania to Albanian parents, Murati made a major move at the age of 16 when she relocated to Canada to pursue her education at Pearson College UWC.
Her academic journey led her to Dartmouth College in the United States, where she studied mechanical engineering at the Ivy League institution.
During her undergraduate years, she achieved the remarkable feat of constructing a hybrid race car for her senior project, as reported by the New York Times.
Starting her career as an intern at Goldman Sachs, Murati continued her professional journey with a stint at Zodiac Aerospace. She then dedicated three years to Tesla, where she contributed to the development of Model X.
Following her tenure at Tesla, Murati transitioned to the role of VP of product and engineering at Leap Motion, a startup specializing in sensor technology, in 2016.
After two years with Leap Motion, she made a pivotal move to OpenAI, taking on the role of VP of applied AI and partnerships, as reported by Tech Crunch.
"Both in my time at Tesla, and at a VR company [Leap Motion] I was doing applications of AI in the real world. I very quickly believed that AGI would be the last and most important major technology that we built, and I wanted to be at the heart of it," Murati told Wired in a July 2023 interview.
After joining OpenAI in 2018, Murati first delved into the realm of supercomputing. Her dedication and contributions in this domain led to her promotion within the organization, and by 2022, she assumed the role of Chief Technology Officer.