Sam Altman, the CEO of OpenAI and the mind behind AI-powered chatbots like ChatGPT and GPT-4, was abruptly fired by the company’s board of directors. The decision came after the board lost confidence in Altman’s leadership, citing his lack of consistent candid communication with them as the reason for his departure. Altman’s unexpected firing led to a major shakeup in the tech industry, as the Microsoft-backed OpenAI announced a “leadership transition”, appointing Mira Murati as the interim CEO while a permanent replacement is sought for the $90bn company. Altman’s surprising departure has prompted an outpouring of reactions from the tech sector, with former Google CEO, Eric Schmidt, describing Altman as a “hero” who changed the collective world forever.
Despite Altman’s previous influential status in the tech world and acknowledgments from publications like Time Magazine, news of his sudden firing has created quite a stir. OpenAI’s board did not provide further details regarding the reasons for Altman’s departure, but it is clear that the decision has had a significant impact both internally and externally. Furthermore, Altman’s firing was made more unusual by his response on X, where he likened the experience to “reading your own eulogy while you’re still alive” and warned against repercussions if he decides to speak out. Additionally, OpenAI president Greg Brockman, who co-founded the company with Altman and Elon Musk, announced his resignation shortly after the news broke, showcasing the disarray caused by the leadership change. These events have sent ripples throughout the tech community and cast a shadow on Altman’s previously lauded position in the industry.