OpenAI announced late Friday that CEO Sam Altman is stepping down, saying the company’s board “no longer has confidence in his ability” to lead the AI startup backed by Microsoft (MSFT). MSFT stock wavered in extended trading.
“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 in a blog post.
Altman will be replaced by Chief Technology Officer Mira Murati. The company had also announced that OpenAI co-founder and president, Greg Brockman will be stepping down as board chair but will remain the company. But Brockman later announced in a social media post that he was also leaving the company.
MSFT Stock: Wavers In Extended Trading
News of Altman’s departure caps a momentous year for OpenAI. The startup rocked the technology world with the introduction of ChatGPT in Nov. 2022. The chatbot became an instant hit, triggering a frenzy over AI.
Altman and Tesla (TSLA) founder Elon Musk started the company in 2015 as a nonprofit, research-oriented entity. However, OpenAI had remained a largely low-key startup before the introduction of ChatGPT.
The ChatGPT phenomenon also turned the spotlight on Microsoft. The tech giant emerged as an AI powerhouse after it forged a partnership with OpenAI. MSFT stock has jumped 54% in 2023. Other tech giants, including Google (GOOGL) and Amazon (AMZN), have scrambled to beef up their AI arsenal.
MSFT stock slipped around 1% to 366.02 in after-hours trading.
However, the AI craze also sparked fears of the technology’s potentially disruptive impact. In May, a group of technology leaders, including Altman, warned about the “risk of extinction” posed by AI.
In announcing Altman’s exit, OpenAI’s board affirmed its mission “to ensure that artificial general intelligence benefits all humanity.”
Follow Reinhardt Krause on X, formerly called Twitter, @reinhardtk_tech for updates on 5G wireless, artificial intelligence, cybersecurity and cloud computing.
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