OpenAI's Inside Story: Altman Fired on Google Meet

In a surprising turn of events, Sam Altman's tenure at OpenAI ends abruptly during a Google Meet call, marking a pivotal moment in AI industry leadership.

OpenAI's Inside Story: Altman Fired on Google Meet

Saturday November 18, 2023,

2 min Read

OpenAI, known for its groundbreaking AI systems like ChatGPT and GPT-4, recently underwent a major leadership shift. Sam Altman, the CEO since its inception, was fired following a board review process questioning his communication efficacy and hindering board responsibilities. This decision came as a surprise, considering Altman's active public role and OpenAI's recent achievements.

The Unfolding of Events

The narrative of Altman's dismissal is marked by sudden decisions and minimal communication, as detailed by Greg Brockman, President and Co-Founder of OpenAI.

  • Pre-noon, Friday: Sam Altman received a text from Ilya Sutskever, a fellow co-founder, requesting a meeting at noon. The nature of the meeting was unspecified.
  • 12:00 PM, Friday: In a Google Meet session, Altman encountered the entire board, sans Greg Brockman. Ilya broke the news: Altman was to be fired, and the announcement was imminent.
  • 12:19 PM, Friday: Greg Brockman received a text from Ilya, calling for a quick discussion.
  • 12:23 PM, Friday: A Google Meet link was sent to Brockman, where he learned of his removal from the board, albeit retaining his significant role in the company. Concurrently, Altman's firing was communicated.

The Immediate Aftermath

  • Post-Announcement: The management team, except Mira Murati who was informed earlier, learned of these developments shortly after. The company quickly published a blog post formalising the leadership changes.

Despite the abrupt nature of these events, Brockman expressed gratitude for the support received. He reassured stakeholders and the public, signalling optimism for future endeavours.

The removal of Sam Altman from OpenAI marks a significant shift in the company's trajectory. While the full implications of this change are yet to unfold, the manner in which it was executed sheds light on the complexities and challenges inherent in governing cutting-edge technology firms. As OpenAI navigates this transition, the tech world watches closely, anticipating the impact on future AI developments and industry dynamics.