Sam Altman, the head of artificial intelligence firm OpenAI, has been ousted by the company’s board, which said it had lost confidence in his ability to lead the company.
The board said Altman had not been “consistently candid with his communications”, hindering its ability to exercise its responsibilities.
The 38-year-old had also become a spokesman for the artificial intelligence industry, appearing before Congress this year to testify about new rules for artificial intelligence.
On social media, Altman wrote that he had loved his time at the company.
“It was transformative for me personally, and hopefully the world a little bit. Most of all I loved working with such talented people,” he wrote. “Will have more to say about what’s next later.”
In a statement, the board said it was grateful for Altman’s contributions but that members believed new leadership was necessary.
“The board no longer has confidence in his ability to continue leading OpenAI,” the company said, citing “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 said chief technology officer, Mira Murati, would take over as interim chief, effective immediately, while the board searches for a permanent replacement.
Industry responds to Sam Altman’s dismissal
The announcement of Altman’s departure sent shockwaves through the sector, BBC reports.
On social media, former Google boss Eric Schmidt called Altman “a hero of mine” and said that he had “changed our collective world forever”.
“I can’t wait to see what he does next. I, and billions of people, will benefit from his future work- it’s going to be simply incredible,” he wrote.
OpenAI president and co-founder Greg Brockman announced he had quit his role at the company following Altman’s ousting.
In a statement posted X, formerly known as Twitter, Brockman said: “I’m super proud of what we’ve all built together since starting in my apartment eight years ago.
“We’ve been through tough and great times together, accomplishing so much despite all the reasons it should have been impossible. But based on today’s news, I quit.” He said he would continue to “believe in the mission of creating safe AGI that benefits all of humanity”.
OpenAI started in 2015 as a non-profit. It restructured in 2019 and is now backed by Microsoft, which has invested billions.
Just weeks ago, OpenAI was reportedly in talks to sell shares in the company to investors at a price that would value it at more than $80bn (£64bn).