This morning OpenAI released an unexpected press statement detailing that its CEO Sam Altman was no longer. OpenAI is the company that makes AI-powered services like ChatGPT and DALL-E.
With no prior indication that there were issues at the company, the move comes as a shock to the industry, including Microsoft who famously made a $10 Billion investment to leverage OpenAI’s technology in their products, now powering Bing Chat and CoPilot.
The full press release says CTO Mira Murati has been appointed interim CEO to lead OpenAI as Sam Altman departs the company.
It is not clear what led to the immediate firing, other than this paragraph that suggests Altman was not consistently candid in his communications with the board, hindering its ability to exercise its responsibilities. This suggests Altman lied on a number of occasions to the board, the question is what was this about to what degree and with what consequences.
Many have speculated this relates to financial information, which obviously could have legal consequences or even threaten contracts with externals. Another possibility is that Altman lied about usage data which could potentially mislead investors in the company about how much their company is worth.
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 is expected that OpenAI will hold an all-hands meeting with staff later today which may reveal more information on what has transpired inside the company.
Altman has now posted for the first time since the announcement. Altman does not defend the incident or shine any further detail on what occurred, simply saying that he’ll have more to say about what’s next later.