OpenAI Board Fires CEO Sam Altman


The board of directors of OpenAI, Inc, the 501(c)(3) that acts as the overall governing body for all OpenAI activities, today announced that Sam Altman will depart as CEO and leave the board of directors. Mira Murati, the company’s chief technology officer, will serve as interim CEO, effective immediately.


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 no longer has confidence in his ability to continue leading OpenAI.

This news comes less than two weeks after Altman spoke at OpenAI’s first-ever developer presentation, and even this announcement seems unusually brusque for a corporate press release.

Update: Alex Heath and Nilay Patel, of the Verge, are reporting one day later that the board wants Altman back. If Kara Swisher’s reporting from last night is true, it seems like this could be a hard sell. I appreciate the board’s apparently cautious approach to product development, but firing the CEO without investor knowledge and then trying to undo that decision a day later is not a good look.

Update: It is now Monday morning, and Sam Altman and Greg Brockman — and colleagues — are reportedly joining Microsoft. If their ouster from OpenAI was due to an ideological split, their new employer makes sense: Microsoft is all-in on machine generated stuff regardless of quality and risk. Good luck to OpenAI, which is also now being run by Twitch’s former CEO, not Murati.