OpenAI announced Friday afternoon that CEO Sam Altman has departed the company, saying the executive “was not consistently candid in his communications with the board, hindering its ability to exercise its responsibilities.”
In a blog post disclosing Altman’s ouster, the company added that “the board no longer has confidence in his ability to continue leading OpenAI.” The company did not immediately provide details on how Altman may have misled its board.
Chief technology officer Mira Murati was appointed interim CEO.
OpenAI President Greg Brockman said he had decided to leave the company, as well, apparently in response to Altman’s firing by the board.
In a post on X, formerly Twitter, Altman wrote: “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.”
A few hours after the news about Altman’s firing, Brockman announced on X that he was leaving in response . “I’m super proud of what we’ve all built together since starting in my apartment 8 years ago,” Brockman wrote in a memo to OpenAI staff that he posted online. “But based on today’s news I quit. Genuinely wishing you all nothing but the best.”
which is the largest investor in OpenAI, provided a statement on the news, but did not directly address the reasons for Altman’s departure.
”We have a long-term partnership with OpenAI and Microsoft remains committed to Mira and their team as we bring this next era of AI to our customers,” a spokesperson for Microsoft said.
Microsoft shares fell slightly after the Altman news became public around 3:30 p.m. Friday. The stock closed down 1.7%.
“This is a shocker and Altman was a key ingredient in the recipe for success of OpenAI,” says Dan Ives, who covers Microsoft and other tech firms for Wedbush Securities. “That said, we believe Microsoft and [its CEO Satya] Nadella will exert more control at OpenAI going forward with Altman gone.”
OpenAI had earlier in the day said that Brockman was stepping down as chairman of the company, but that he would remain in his current role as President. Brockman subsequently decided not to stay.
OpenAI’s board members include the company’s chief scientist, Ilya Sutskever, along with three independent directors, Quora CEO Adam D’Angelo; Helen Toner, Director of Strategy and Foundational Research Grants at the Georgetown Center for Security and Emerging Technology, and Tasha McCauley, a robotics engineer and entrepreneur. None of the directors responded to requests for comment.
OpenAI noted in its blog post that Murati has been part of OpenAI’s leadership team for five years. “She brings a unique skill set, understanding of the company’s values, operations, and business, and already leads the company’s research, product, and safety functions,” the company said.
“Given her long tenure and close engagement with all aspects of the company, including her experience in AI governance and policy, the board believes she is uniquely qualified for the role and anticipates a seamless transition while it conducts a formal search for a permanent CEO.”
OpenAI did not immediately respond to a request for further comment on the announcement.
Altman co-founded OpenAI in 2015 with the incubator Y Combinator, Brockman, investor Peter Thiel,
CEO Elon Musk, Y Combinator co-founder Jessica Livingston, and the IT services company
Originally created as a non-profit, OpenAI transitioned to a for-profit business in 2019. Altman previously served in various roles at Y Combinator, including President and Chairman.