OpenAI’s board of directors has announced a leadership transition. The CEO and the face of OpenAI, Sam Altman, is leaving the company effective immediately. The board has removed Altman from his role as CEO. The CTO, Mira Murati, is now interim CEO until a successor is found. Altman allegedly has not been honest with the board.
Out of the blue, OpenAI is publishing a blog tonight that the board is changing the leadership team. Sam Altman has to step down and leave the company. He has not been honest with the board of directors, thereby hindering the board from doing their job properly. Which is a cryptic description because this could mean anything.
“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 board no longer has confidence in his ability to continue leading OpenAI.”
It appears at this point that Altman does not disagree with the board’s decision. On X, he states that he enjoyed working at OpenAI and with such talented people.
“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. will have more to say about what’s next later.”
He will soon tell what his next step will be, will he continue his career at one of the big tech companies? We have to wait and see.
Sam Altman is the face of OpenAI and was everywhere
With the departure of Sam Altman, OpenAI has lost its face. He was the one who always appeared in the media and spoke at conferences of major tech companies. As such, he is the face of generative AI and of OpenAI. This has allowed other people at OpenAI to continue working without being distracted on new innovations. For OpenAI, Altman’s departure means they have to look for a new face, a new spokesperson, and one who can also interpret and explain what generative AI is and what impact it has. That will be a huge challenge.
Board has confidence in Murati
Mira Murati succeeds Altman as interim CEO; she already leads OpenAI’s research, product and safety team. Murate is highly technically savvy and very suited for the role. The role of CEO, however, comes with a lot of additional responsibilities that will distract from her current position. Given the challenges OpenAI still faces in terms of development, growth and profitability, it can be very hard to combine all these roles. OpenAI can’t afford to lose focus on research and product development. For OpenAI it would be best if they find a new CEO soon.