Yesterday shock waves reverberated as OpenAI’s board ousted Sam Altman CEO of Open AI. Details are sketchy at this time, but media is rampant on the shell shock of not just Mr. Altman, clearly not pre-warned or coached, as are shell shocked employees, and definitely the investors.
A corporate statement released stated 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.
In a statement, the board of directors said: “OpenAI was deliberately structured to advance our mission: to ensure that artificial general intelligence benefits all humanity. 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, 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 was clearly blindsided and not aware there were concerns. Standing beside Altman, Greg Brockman OpenAI’s co-founder and president also resigned on Friday in solidarity with Mr. Altman and released a statement saying that both of them were “shocked and saddened by what the board did today.”
Mr. Altman was asked to join a video meeting with the board at noon on Friday and was immediately fired, Mr. Brockman said.
Board communication with CEO and Founders is a critical skill to foster. However, CEO’s and founders also deserve effective coaching as the roots of founders go very deep in the cultural psyche.
It will be interesting to monitor the additional fall out expected and legal risks that no doubt will follow.