OpenAI has appointed former Twitch CEO Emmett Shear as the new CEO, replacing Sam Altman who was abruptly removed.
The sudden shift in leadership follows a tumultuous weekend for the renowned startup, as OpenAI’s board announced on Friday the removal of Altman, citing a lack of consistent transparency in his communications with the board. Tech chief Mira Murati has been appointed as the interim replacement.
Friday’s announcement caught many off guard, including influential investors such as Microsoft, Tiger Global, Thrive Capital, and Sequoia Capital, who promptly moved to challenge the decision. Despite lacking board seats, these firms played a significant role in attempting to reverse the unexpected leadership change.
OpenAI, which recently made headlines with discussions of selling employee shares at a staggering $86 billion valuation, gained widespread recognition this year with the launch of ChatGPT, a chatbot enabling users to engage in sophisticated conversations by inputting simple text queries.
Altman had led the company since 2019, balancing the roles of top executive for the high-flying company and public face of artificial intelligence research and product development.
Distinguishing itself from typical Silicon Valley startups, OpenAI operated as part of a nonprofit established in 2015. The board oversees this nonprofit structure, acting as the governing body for all OpenAI activities, as outlined in Friday’s blog post.
Shear, who stepped down as Twitch CEO in March, co-founded Justin [.tv] in 2007, a precursor to Twitch. Additionally, he served as a part-time partner at startup accelerator Y Combinator, where Altman previously held a leadership role before joining OpenAI.
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- Sam Altman out as CEO, Mira Murati takes the helm