Sam Altman, the high-profile chief executive of OpenAI, who became the face of the tech industry’s artificial intelligence boom, has been pushed out of the company by its board of directors, OpenAI said in a blog post on Friday afternoon.
Mira Murati, who previously served as the company’s chief technology officer, has been named interim chief executive officer, the company said.
“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 company said. “The board no longer has confidence in his ability to continue leading OpenAI.”
The move by OpenAI’s board of directors is a stunning fall for Mr. Altman, 38, who over the last year had become one of the tech industry’s most prominent executives as well as one of its most fascinating characters.
A longtime tech entrepreneur, Mr. Altman helped found OpenAI with the financial backing of Elon Musk in 2015. He steered the small San Francisco company into rare territory — a technology leader funded by billions of dollars from Microsoft and envied by Silicon Valley giants like Google and Meta, Facebook’s parent company.
He also became a spokesman for the tech industry’s shift toward A.I. testifying before Congress and charming lawmakers and regulators around the world.
It was not immediately clear what had led to the decision by OpenAI’s board. Mr. Altman could not be immediately reached for comment.
On Thursday evening, Mr. Altman appeared at an event in Oakland, Calif., where he discussed the future of art and artists now that artificial intelligence can generate images, videos, sounds and other forms of art on its own. Giving no indication that he was leaving OpenAI, he repeatedly said he and the company would continue to work alongside artists and help to ensure their future would be bright.
Greg Brockman, who helped found OpenAI alongside Mr. Altman, will step down as chairman of the board but remain in his role as president of the company, reporting to the C.E.O., the company said.
OpenAI launched an industrywide A.I. frenzy late last year when it released the online chatbot ChatGPT. The chatbot attracted hundreds of millions of users, wowing people with the way it answered questions, wrote poetry and discussed almost any topic tossed its way.
After the chatbot’s release, the wider tech industry embraced what is called generative artificial intelligence — technologies that can generate text, images and other media on their own. The result of more than a decade of research inside companies like OpenAI and Google, these technologies are poised to remake everything from email programs to internet search engines to digital tutors.
OpenAI is in talks to close new funding round that would value the company at more than $80 billion — nearly triple its valuation less than a year ago.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.