CEO Altman to depart OpenAI after board loses confidence in his ability to lead

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Sam Altman, one of the most prominent figures in artificial intelligence, is leaving OpenAI, the company’s board said Friday. Chief Technology Officer Mira Murati will be interim chief executive.

“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.”

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.

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