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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Sam Altman to depart OpenAI, Mira Murati will be interim CEO

OpenAI CEO Sam Altman is shown in Washington, D.C., ahead of a meeting with business leaders and legislators in September.  (Tom Brenner/For the Washington Post)
By Rachel Metz Bloomberg

Sam Altman, one of the most prominent figures in the world of artificial intelligence, is leaving OpenAI with the company’s board saying he wasn’t always “candid” and that it had lost confidence in him as a leader.

Chief Technology Officer Mira Murati will serve as OpenAI’s interim chief executive officer.

“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 statement.

“The board no longer has confidence in his ability to continue leading OpenAI.”

Murati joined OpenAI in 2018 and was made CTO last year.

“Given her long tenure and close engagement with all aspects of the company, including her experience in AI governance and policy, the board believes she is uniquely qualified for the role and anticipates a seamless transition while it conducts a formal search for a permanent CEO,” the company said in its statement.

Greg Brockman, a co-founder of OpenAI who had been chairman of the board, is also leave his board post but will still serve as president of OpenAI.

OpenAI is a leading player in AI, and has been in talks to sell employee shares to investors at a valuation of $86 billion – a figure that would make the company one of the largest startups in the world.

Its popular products, like ChatGPT and Dall-E, introduced generative AI into the mainstream.

Generative AI is technology that trains on vast swathes of digital data and can produce human-like content such as images, text and code when prompted.

Founded in 2015, the company released ChatGPT about a year ago, setting off a rush of interest in AI technology.

About 100 million people use ChatGPT each week, the company said in November, and more than 90% of Fortune 500 businesses are building tools on OpenAI’s platform.

The company provides its software to businesses, and is on track to have annual revenue of about $1 billion, Bloomberg reported in August.

At the same time, OpenAI is facing growing competition from well-funded rival products developed at other startups and tech giants, including at Alphabet Inc.’s Google.