OpenAI CTO Mira Murati Had Concerns About Sam Altman Before Ouster: NYT

Estimated read time 3 min read
  • Two OpenAI execs raised concerns about Sam Altman before his ouster, The New York Times reported.
  • The outlet reported that the company’s chief technology officer, Mira Murati, played a key role.
  • Altman returned as CEO in days, leaving many unanswered questions about what happened.

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While it’s still unclear what exactly went down before OpenAI CEO Sam Altman was abruptly ousted from the company in November — only to return in less than a week — more details were disclosed in a new report.

When his exit was announced, the OpenAI board said it “no longer has confidence in his ability to continue leading OpenAI” and that he was “not consistently candid in his communications.” Still, the vague explanation only sparked more questions, which continued to linger even after his return.

The New York Times reported on Thursday, citing unnamed sources, that the company’s chief technology officer, Mira Murati, had raised concerns about Altman’s leadership style to the board in October — and to Altman himself in the form of a memo.

The sources told the Times her actions contributed to the board pushing Altman out.

Murati took over for a short-lived stint as interim CEO after Altman’s departure.

The Times reported that she wasn’t the only executive unhappy with Altman. Ilya Sutskever, a cofounder and the chief scientist of OpenAI, also raised issues with some members of the board in October, the report said.

Some board members were worried that if they didn’t do something about Altman, Sutskever and Murati might leave OpenAI, the Times reported.

The law firm WilmerHale is expected to release a report soon based on its investigation into what happened amid Altman’s exit and return.

OpenAI, Murati, and Sutskever didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment sent by Business Insider.

In a statement to the Times, an OpenAI spokesperson said Murati, as well as the rest of the leadership team, requested Altman return as CEO right after his departure.

“The strong support from his team underscores that he is an effective CEO who is open to different points of view, willing to solve complex challenges, and who demonstrates care for his team,” the spokesperson, Hannah Wong, told the outlet.

Murati didn’t respond to the Times, while Sutskever’s attorney said it was “categorically false” that he raised concerns to the board.

Correction: March 8, 2024 — Display copy in an earlier version of this story misstated Sam Altman’s role at OpenAI. He’s the CEO, not the CTO.