OpenAI suddenly ousts CEO Sam Altman: "The board no longer has confidence"

Sam Altman at OpenAI Dev Day.
(Image credit: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

OpenAI's board ousted CEO Sam Altman, the company announced in a blog post. The sudden departure comes with the board stating that it lost faith in Altman to run the company and that he was not honest in his communications. Altman has also been removed from the board of directors.

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

Altman served as the public face of OpenAI at events like its recent DevDay and on stage at events with Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, making the departure even more shocking. In some ways, he's served as a face for AI in general, testifying before Congress on the matter.

"I loved my time at OpenAI," Altman posted on X (formerly known as Twitter) in all lowercase letters. "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."

Effective immediately, Mira Murati, OpenAI's chief technology officer, will take over as interim CEO. Murati joined the company in 2018. The company plans to conduct a search for a new permanent executive.

Greg Brockman, who co-founded OpenAI, is stepping down from his board chairman role but will remain president at the company, reporting directly to the CEO.

OpenAI is arguably the leader in the generative AI space and has been valued at over $80 billion. Some of that investment has come from Microsoft, which made a multi-billion investment in the company and has leveraged OpenAI's ChatGPT technology to underpin AI in Bing and Copilot.

"We have a long-term partnership with OpenAI and Microsoft remains committed to Mira and their team as we bring this next era of AI to our customers," a Microsoft spokesperson told Tom's Hardware in an email.

Beyond ChatGPT, which took the world by storm last year, it also makes the DALL-E image generator.

Altman has his hands in several other products, including holding a stake in Humane, which just announced its AI pin. Additionally, he's involved in WorldCoin, a cryptocurrency that also serves as proof of identity, and has reportedly spoken with designer Jony Ive and SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son about creating mainstream AI hardware. 

Updated November 17, 5:42 p.m. with social media post from Sam Altman.

Andrew E. Freedman is a senior editor at Tom's Hardware focusing on laptops, desktops and gaming. He also keeps up with the latest news. A lover of all things gaming and tech, his previous work has shown up in Tom's Guide, Laptop Mag, Kotaku, PCMag and Complex, among others. Follow him on Threads @FreedmanAE and Mastodon @FreedmanAE.mastodon.social.

  • dehjomz
    Let me guess, one of the new GPTs uncovered wrongdoing and reported him ?
    Reply
  • George³
    dehjomz said:
    Let me guess, one of the new GPTs uncovered wrongdoing and reported him ?
    It is entirely possible that Altman's concept of the gpt-5 was such that it was at high risk of being unmanageable by its owners. Then it wouldn't be a product they could profit from. It wouldn't even be a product at all. And they want to earn as much as possible.
    Reply
  • usertests
    dehjomz said:
    Let me guess, one of the new GPTs uncovered wrongdoing and reported him ?
    George³ said:
    It is entirely possible that Altman's concept of the gpt-5 was such that it was at high risk of being unmanageable by its owners. Then it wouldn't be a product they could profit from. It wouldn't even be a product at all. And they want to earn as much as possible.
    He also got MeToo'd... by his own sister. Maybe that made it into the latest GPT knowledge base.

    https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=38311509https://techcrunch.com/2023/11/17/wtf-is-going-on-at-openai-sam-altman-fired/https://slate.com/technology/2023/11/sam-altman-fired-openai-mira-murati.html
    Reply
  • George³
    These days it's a trendy way to try to get a lot of money out of someone, or ruin their career if they don't accept being blackmailed. You just say that he sexually assaulted you, maybe tens of years ago, and the whole society, which is otherwise so tolerant of the perversions of the social gender, led by the court, gets on your head and kills you, sometimes literally.
    Reply
  • suryasans
    OpenAI limits its explorative AI by defending the liberal values and sacrificing its knowledges by choosing to not answer some sensitive questions.
    Reply
  • NinoPino
    suryasans said:
    OpenAI limits its explorative AI by defending the liberal values and sacrificing its knowledges by choosing to not answer some sensitive questions.
    Remember that this is not true AI but only a statistical aggregator. Putting such questions to it is however a nonsense.
    Reply
  • bit_user
    NinoPino said:
    Remember that this is not true AI but only a statistical aggregator.
    In much the same way as your brain.
    Reply
  • George³
    In fact, I don't believe any of the colleagues here are familiar with the full details of how GPT-5 will work. Including algorithms and other processing and contextual mechanisms not used in previous versions. I think we need a new topic specifically for GPT-5, if one doesn't already exist.
    Reply
  • bit_user
    George³ said:
    I think we need a new topic specifically for GPT-5, if one doesn't already exist.
    Toms needs some good AI explainer articles, but the editors seem more interested in trashing AI than understanding it or how to use it.
    Reply
  • George³
    bit_user said:
    Toms needs some good AI explainer articles, but the editors seem more interested in trashing AI than understanding it or how to use it.
    This is normal for the news section, but the forum has a dedicated software section.
    Reply