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

Sorry, Sam

Here's one we weren't expecting: the creator of ChatGPT, OpenAI, has unexpectedly announced that it's ditching its charismatic CEO Sam Altman, 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 company wrote in the surprise announcement. "The board no longer has confidence in his ability to continue leading OpenAI."

Over Lord

The statement is strikingly vague about exactly what went off the rails with Altman, who cofounded the company alongside the also since-departed Elon Musk back in 2015.

Sure, the exec has shown a penchant for making striking public predictions and occasionally fostering drama with the likes of his frenemy Musk — oh yeah, and he's a doomsday prepper because he fears, among other things, AI rising up against humankind – but there hadn't been any public sign until now of friction with the company's board of directors. In fact, the member of the board with arguably the most name recognition, Ilya Sutskever, has been prone to making provocative statements about AI himself.

Regardless, though, it's clear that something went amiss behind the scenes.

"OpenAI was deliberately structured to advance our mission: to ensure that artificial general intelligence benefits all humanity," the statement continued. "The board remains fully committed to serving this mission. 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. As the leader of the company’s research, product, and safety functions."

Road Ahead

OpenAI says the search is afoot for a new permanent CEO, but in the interim it's appointing the company's chief technology officer Mira Murati in the role as a stopgap. (Curious what we know about her? Here's our rundown.)

"As the leader of the company’s research, product, and safety functions," it wrote. "Mira is exceptionally qualified to step into the role of interim CEO. We have the utmost confidence in her ability to lead OpenAI during this transition period."

Altman himself eventually weighed in on Twitter-formerly-X.

"i loved my time at openai," he wrote, in all lower case. "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."

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