The board of directors of OpenAI has fired the company’s Chief Executive Officer Sam Altman, an internal memo from chief operating officer Brad Lightcap reveals. The memo states that a breakdown in communication between Sam Altman and the board led to his dismissal as CEO of OpenAI, not any wrongdoing or issues with finances, business, safety, or security/privacy procedures.
Altman’s abrupt firing as co-founder and chief executive of OpenAI on Friday shocked employees and partners of the company, including its main backer Microsoft. His departure along with other senior figures at the company has thrown into doubt the company’s efforts to sell up to $1bn in employee stock and secure an $86bn valuation, and has exposed tensions within the world’s most prominent AI start-up.
The board has so far provided little explanation of its rationale for sacking the 38-year old beyond issuing a statement on Friday saying Altman had not been consistently candid. Additionally, it also stated that Greg Brockman, the president of OpenAI and chair of the board, would resign. Not long afterward, Brockman made his resignation official.
The memo reads “We can say definitively that the board’s decision was not made in response to malfeasance or anything related to our financial, business, safety, or security/privacy practices. This was a breakdown in communication between Sam and the board.”
“Our position as a company remains extremely strong, and Microsoft remains fully committed to our partnership. Interim CEO Mira Murati has our full support as CEO. We still share your concerns about how the process has been handled, are working to resolve the situation, and will provide updates as we’re able.”
OpenAI is a non-profit organization that controls a for-profit subsidiary, has led the generative-AI boom since releasing ChatGPT a year ago.