On Friday afternoon, not long after news of CEO Sam Altman’s sudden and dramatic departure from OpenAI began spreading online, the company held an all-hands meeting at its headquarters in San Francisco, news The information. During the meeting, interim CEO Mira Murati tried to reassure the shocked employees that the search for a new CEO is underway.
Hours later, OpenAI co-founder and president Greg Brockman Post a statement on X, he said that after writing today’s news he sent a message to the OpenAI team: “based on today’s news, I quit.” Brockman, a key technical figure involved in many of the company’s successes, was fired from his OpenAI board on Friday, but the company initially announced that he would be staying.
Earlier on Friday, OpenAI made an announcement blog post titled “OpenAI announces leadership change” where it is announced that Atlman “has not been consistent in his communications with the board, hindering his ability to exercise his responsibilities.” In a response post on X, Altman wrote“I loved my time at openai,” and hinted at future plans without revealing any details.
News of the firing sent shock waves through the tech community on Friday, sparking rumors on social media about potential reasons behind Altman’s departure, none of which have been confirmed. Altman recently launched a keynote for his first Dev Day conference and spoke on a panel at the APEC Summit on Wednesday. Nothing seems crazy, according to reports from people who know Altman, so the shooting may come as a surprise.
OpenAI Chief Scientist Ilya Sutskever reportedly told staff that internal vibration would “make us feel closer.” In a memo to staff earlier in the day, Sutskever wrote, “Change can be scary,” according to the statement, while assuring that the company has an “amazing team” and that the company’s “research progress is very surprising to say the least. , and the market is the fastest growing in history. “
Microsoft employees were also surprised by Altman’s departure; reportedly, employees working on OpenAI-related projects did not receive notice that Altman was fired. Altman served as OpenAI’s main point of contact, and was instrumental in the architectural deals that led to billions of dollars of investment from Microsoft. Reportedly, Altman attended a regularly scheduled meeting with Microsoft executives on Thursday.
In an X post, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella wrote, “We have a long-term agreement with OpenAI with full access to everything we need to deliver on our innovation plan and ambitious product roadmap; and it is a commitment to our partnership, and to Mira and the team. Together, we will continue to deliver the meaningful benefits of this technology to the world. “
Amidst the shake-up, OpenAI has insisted that Murati’s role as CEO is clearly temporary. “The search process is underway to identify a permanent successor,” they wrote in their announcement. OpenAI was not immediately available for comment.
UPDATE – 11/28/2023 12 AM Eastern:
According to the report from Kara Swisher we had The information, it seems that Altman has been removed from the internal debate on the direction of the company with attention to games on safety, with the Chief Scientist Illya Sutskever apparently behind the board. Altman’s firing came as a complete surprise to Altman and Brockman, who were kept in the dark about the decision until Friday afternoon.
At 8:42 PM Pacific, Greg Brockman released a joint statement from himself and Sam Altman on X.
Sam and I are shocked and saddened by what the council did today.
Let’s first say thank you to all the amazing people we’ve worked with OpenAI, our customers, our investors, and everyone you’ve reached out to.
We are still trying to figure out what really happened. Here’s what we know:
– Last night, Sam got a message from Ilya asking to talk on Friday afternoon. Sam joins a Google Meet and the entire board, except Greg, is there. Ilya tells Sam that he has been fired and that the news is coming out soon.
– At 12:19pm, Greg got a text from Ilya asking for an urgent call. At 12:23 pm, Ilya posted a Google Meet link. Greg was told he was fired from the board (but he was important to the company and would retain his role) and Sam was fired. Around the same time, OpenAI published a blog post.
– As far as we know, the management team was aware of this soon after, other than Mira who saw it the night before.
The outpouring of support has been very good; Thank you, but please don’t spend any time worrying. We will be fine. Great things coming soon.
At 9:05 PM Pacific, Sam Altman released his second statement on X today:
I love you all. today was a weird experience in many ways. but one unexpected thing is that it has been like his own reading while he was alive. The outpouring of love is awesome. one takeaway: go tell your friends how great you think they are.
Expect more to come on this topic later as more details emerge.