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Saturday, 18 November 2023 12:27

How OpenAI board fired CEO, Sam Altman, and Chairman, Greg Brockman

Details have emerged of the intrigues that played out on Friday leading to the exit of OpenAI’s popular CEO, Sam Altman, and the company’s co-founder and Chairman, Greg Brockman.

A statement from OpenAI, noted that a deliberative review process by the board concluded that Altman “was not consistently candid in his communications with the board, hindering its ability to exercise its responsibilities.” Hence, the board no longer has confidence in his ability to continue leading OpenAI.

Altman thereafter announced his resignation via a post on X but without the details. However, ousted Chairman, Greg Brockman shared the events that led to their exit, while expressing shock at the decision of the board.

How we were removed

Giving a blow-by-blow account of the incident, Brockman in a post on X, which was also reposted by Altman, shared:

  • “Sam and I are shocked and saddened by what the board did today. Let us first say thank you to all the incredible people who we have worked with at OpenAI, our customers, our investors, and all of those who have been reaching out.
  • “We too are still trying to figure out exactly what happened. Here is what we know:
  • Last night, Sam got a text from Ilya asking to talk at noon on Friday. Sam joined a Google Meet and the whole board, except Greg, was there. Ilya told Sam he was being fired and that the news was going out very soon.
  • “At 12:19 pm, Greg got a text from Ilya asking for a quick call. At 12:23 pm, Ilya sent a Google Meet link. Greg was told that he was being removed from the board (but was vital to the company and would retain his role) and that Sam had been fired. Around the same time, OpenAI published a blog post.
  • “As far as we know, the management team was made aware of this shortly after, other than Mira who found out the night prior.
  • “The outpouring of support has been really nice; thank you, but please don’t spend any time being concerned. We will be fine. Greater things coming soon.”

The new OpenAI CEO

Meanwhile, the board has also announced the appointment of a new CEO to replace Altman. According to the board, Mira Murati, the company’s chief technology officer, will serve as interim CEO, effective immediately.

A member of OpenAI’s leadership team for five years, Mira is said to have played a critical role in OpenAI’s evolution into a global AI leader.

  • “She brings a unique skill set, and understanding of the company’s values, operations, and business, and already leads the company’s research, product, and safety functions. 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,” the OpenAI board stated.


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