November 30, 2023


OpenAI chief operating officer Brad Lightcap addressed the firing of CEO Sam Altman in a brief message to employees on Saturday.

Lightcap wrote in the memo, obtained by CNBC, that everyone was taken by surprise and that he’s had many conversations with the board to try to understand their decision.

“We can say definitively that the board’s decision was not made in response to malfeasance or anything related to our financial, business, safety, or security/privacy practices,” he wrote.

Lightcap explained that there was a “breakdown in communication” between Altman and the board.

He wrote the discussions and options regarding the path forward are ongoing and the company remains strong. Microsoft is a fully committed partner, he explained.

Here’s the full memo Lightcap shared with employees on Saturday morning:

“Team – after yesterday’s announcement, which took us all by surprise, we have had multiple conversations with the board to try to better understand the reasons and process behind their decision. These discussions, and options regarding our path forward, are ongoing this morning.

We can say definitively that the board’s decision was not made in response to malfeasance or anything related to our financial, business, safety, or security/privacy practices. This was a breakdown in communication between Sam and the board. Our position as a company remains extremely strong, and Microsoft remains fully committed to our partnership.

Mira has our full support as CEO. We still share your concerns about how the process has been handled, are working to resolve the situation, and will provide updates as we’re able.

I’m sure you all are feeling confusion, sadness, and perhaps some fear. We are fully focused on handling this, pushing toward resolution and clarity, and getting back to work. Our collective responsibility right now is to our teammates, partners, users, customers, and the broader world who shares our vision of broadly beneficial AGI. Hang in there, we are behind you all 1000%.”

Who’s on the OpenAI board — the group behind Sam Altman’s ouster
Sam Altman, CEO of ChatGPT maker OpenAI, arrives for a bipartisan Artificial Intelligence (AI) Insight Forum for all U.S. senators hosted by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, U.S., September 13, 2023. 

OpenAI’s unique corporate structure left Sam Altman vulnerable. Now he’s out
Sam Altman, CEO of OpenAI participates in the "Charting the Path Forward: The Future of Artificial Intelligence" at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Leaders' Week in San Francisco, California, on November 16, 2023.

OpenAI’s Sam Altman exits as CEO because ‘board no longer has confidence’ in his ability to lead



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