Sam Altman attacked a member over a research paper that discussed the company, while directors disagreed about who should fill board vacancies open for months.
Before Sam Altman was ousted from OpenAI last week, he and the company’s board of directors had been bickering for more than a year. The tension got worse as OpenAI became a mainstream name thanks to its popular ChatGPT chatbot.
Mr. Altman, the chief executive, recently made a move to push out one of the board’s members because he thought a research paper she had co-written was critical of the company.
Another member, Ilya Sutskever, who is also OpenAI’s chief scientist, thought Mr. Altman was not always being honest when talking with the board. And board members worried that Mr. Altman was too focused on expansion while they wanted to balance that growth with A.I. safety.
The news that he was being pushed out came in a videoconference on Friday afternoon, when Mr. Sutskever, who had worked closely with Mr. Altman at OpenAI for eight years, read to him a statement from the board. Though the decision stunned OpenAI’s employees, exposing its board members to tough questions about their qualifications to manage such a high-profile company, it was the culmination of long-simmering boardroom tension.