“The board no longer has confidence in his ability to continue leading OpenAI,” the artificial intelligence company said in a statement.
“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’s statement said.
In the wake of Altman’s exit, Mira Murati, OpenAI’s CTO, will serve as the interim CEO. She has been a key figure in the company’s leadership for five years.
Altman responded positively on social media, expressing his fondness for his time at OpenAI and the team he worked with.
Altman posted on X: “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.”
But Altman’s dismissal caught the tech world by surprise, with rumors rife on social media as to the cause of the sudden sacking.
According to a Bloomberg report, Altman’s ambitions may have also played a role in his departure. He has been actively seeking to secure funding in the range of several billion dollars from sovereign wealth funds in the Middle East. This funding is intended for launching a startup focused on AI chips, aiming to rival those produced by Nvidia Corp. Furthermore, Altman has been engaging with Masayoshi Son, the chairman of SoftBank Group Corp, to garner a substantial investment for a new venture. This venture, involving AI-focused hardware, is planned in collaboration with Jony Ive, a former designer at Apple, the Bloomberg report said.
Analysts rushed to interpret the reasons and implications of the abrupt removal of 38-year-old Sam Altman, a former Stanford University student, entrepreneur, and software developer.
“It sounded as though there were some ethical concerns which pushed the board to do something,” Creative Strategies analyst Carolina Milanesi told AFP.
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“If he is being ousted because of ethical concerns, that is only going to be good for the company.”
Wedbush analyst Dan Ives believed that OpenAI’s momentum is unlikely to be slowed by Altman’s firing. “Altman out as CEO of OpenAI is a shocker but ultimately Microsoft will just have more control of the situation,” Ives said in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter.
“We see little concern going forward with him gone,” Ives added.
(With inputs from agencies)
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