Why Was Sam Altman Fired? A Quick Explainer On The Fallout At OpenAI


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The AI industry has been rocked by the sudden dismissal of ChatGPT's creator, Sam Altman

His sudden departure was swiftly followed by reports of his potential return within 24 hours, stirring chaos and speculation. 

Altman, a co-founder and former president of startup accelerator Y Combinator, joined OpenAI as CEO in 2019.

OpenAI CTO Mira Murati is now the company’s interim CEO.

OpenAI's board claimed that it had lost confidence in Altman's ability to lead the company

Altman’s departure was announced by OpenAI’s board in a blog post on 17 November.

“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,” the blog post read.

Tech journalist Kara Swisher, however, speculated “misalignment” between OpenAI’s profit and non-profit camps.

Investors who favoured Altman’s for-profit focus demanded the former CEO be reinstated but an agreement failed to materialise.

After Altman was fired, OpenAI's president Greg Brockman and three senior researchers resigned one after the other

Greg Brockman, OpenAI’s co-founder and president, later disclosed details of Altman’s dismissal via X. 

He outlined a swift firing via Google Meet by the board, with limited prior awareness among the management.

Altman and Brockman will now lead Microsoft's new AI team

In a post on X on 20 November, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella announced that Altman and Brockman will join the tech conglomerate and will head up a “new advanced AI research team”.

Sam confirmed Nadella’s announcement by retweeting, “the mission continues”.

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