In perhaps the most unexpected tech news of the year, billionaire and AI evangelist Sam Altman has been ejected from his CEO role at OpenAI by the company’s board after an apparent vote of no confidence. Its exact wording in a release issued this afternoon: 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.”
What the hell is happening at the most hyped company in the world?! Here are some totally speculative theories that occurred to us and others around the web.
Based on the board’s language and the way these giant tech companies work, this is the prevailing theory floating around right now. “Not consistently candid” is a very diplomatic way of saying Altman lied.
It’s possible that Altman — and potentially OpenAI President Greg Brockman, who stepped down as chairman simultaneously, then resigned — wanted to make a bold move that he knew the board would not like. It’s not uncommon for these deals to be hammered out quietly in smoke- (or vape-) filled rooms and then presented as a fait accompli, but if it was controversial enough and the board found out about these maneuvers, it could be fuel for an ouster.