OpenAI Abruptly Fires Sam Altman After ‘Deliberate’ Board Review

OpenAI's board said Altman "was not consistently candid in his communications with the board."

Sam Altman
Sam Altman is out. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

OpenAI announced today (Nov. 17) Sam Altman will step down as CEO and a board member of the A.I. company behind ChatGPT effective immediately. Current OpenAI chief technology officer Mira Murati will step in as interim CEO as the company searches for Altman’s permanent replacement.

Altman’s surprise departure is the result of “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,” OpenAI said in an announcement. “The board no longer has confidence in his ability to continue leading OpenAI.”

“We are grateful for Sam’s many contributions to the founding and growth of OpenAI. At the same time, we believe new leadership is necessary as we move forward,” OpenAI’s board said in a statement.

Altman is a cofounder OpenAI. He served as the president of startup incubator Y Combinator for eight years before being named as CEO of OpenAI in 2020.

“I loved my time at OpenAI,” Altman said in an X post following OpenAI’s announcement. “It was transformative for me personally, and hopefully the world a little bit.”

“Will have more to say about what’s next later,” he added.

The board has also ousted its chairman Greg Brockman, OpenAI’s president and a cofounder. The company said Brockman will remain in his role as president and report to interim CEO Murati.

After Altman’s and Brockman’s exits, OpenAI’s board now has four directors: the company’s chief scientist Ilya Sutskever, Quora CEO Adam D’Angelo, technology entrepreneur Tasha McCauley, and Helen Toner, a researcher at Georgetown University’s Center for Security and Emerging Technology.

Murati, a former product manager at Tesla, has been with OpenAI for five years, overseeing 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,” OpenAI said in today’s announcement.

OpenAI Abruptly Fires Sam Altman After ‘Deliberate’ Board Review