By Jeffrey Dastin, Anna Tong, Samrhitha A and Krystal Hu
(Reuters) -ChatGPT maker OpenAI’s CEO Sam Altman has been ousted after the board lost confidence in his ability to lead, the company said on Friday, sending shock waves across the tech industry.
OpenAI’s Chief Technology Officer Mira Murati will serve as interim CEO, the company said, adding that it will conduct a formal search for a permanent CEO.
The announcement blindsided many employees who discovered the abrupt management shuffle from an internal announcement and the company’s public facing blog.
“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,” OpenAI said in the blog without elaborating.
Backed by billions of dollars from Microsoft, OpenAI kicked off the generative AI craze last November by releasing its ChatGPT chatbot, which became one of the world’s fastest-growing software applications.
Altman, who ran Y Combinator, is a serial entrepreneur and investor, was the face of OpenAI and the wildly popular generative AI technology that can churn out human-like responses to queries as he toured the world this year.
Altman did not return requests for comment. OpenAI was not reachable for further comment.
“Microsoft remains committed to Mira and their team as we bring this next era of AI to our customers,” a spokesperson for the software maker told Reuters on Friday.
While the impact of the change at OpenAI was not immediately clear, current fundraising prospects could be challenged. “In the short term it will impair OpenAI’s ability to raise more capital. In the intermediate term it will be a non-issue,” Thomas Hayes, chairman at hedge fund Great Hill Capital, said.
(Reporting by Samrhitha Arunasalam in Bengaluru, Jeffrey Dastin and Anna Tong in San Francisco, and Krystal Hu in New York; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta, Kenneth Li and Richard Chang)