OpenAI executives exit after key role in CEO Sam Altman’s ouster

OpenAI executives exit after key role in CEO Sam Altman’s ouster

OpenAI’s chief scientist and co-founder, who was instrumental in CEO Sam Altman’s brief ouster from OpenAI in November, announced that he would be leaving the company on Tuesday.

“After almost a decade, I have decided to leave OpenAI,” Ilya Sutskever said in a social media post. “I’m excited for what’s to come – a project that means a lot to me personally that I’ll share the details of in due course.”

Sutskever played a key role in the dramatic firing — and return — of OpenAI CEO Sam Altman last year, a management crisis that ultimately appeared to solidify Altman’s position as a leader in the burgeoning field of artificial intelligence.

The announcement of Sutskever’s departure comes a day after OpenAI introduced its latest artificial intelligence model, GPT-4o, in a presentation that wowed the audience with its capabilities.

Sutskever made headlines nearly six months ago when he voted to fire Altman as chief executive and chairman of the board. CNN contributor Kara Swisher previously reported that the decision to fire Altman was prompted by Sutskever’s concern that Altman had pushed AI technology “too far, too fast.”

A few days after Altman’s ouster, Sutskever had a change of heart: He signed an employee letter asking the entire board to resign and Altman to return.

Altman didn’t stay out too long. Five days after being fired, Altman returned to the company as CEO, and Sutskever issued a public apology for his role in the corporate drama.

“I deeply regret my participation in the board’s actions,” Sutskever wrote in X in November. “I never intended to harm OpenAI. I love everything we’ve built together and I’ll do everything I can to bring the company back together.”

In the months since, OpenAI has continued to push the progress of its flagship product, ChatGPT. Its latest model, announced Monday, will be available to non-paying customers and could effectively turn ChatGPT into a digital personal assistant that can engage in real-time verbal conversations.

Sutskever played a decisive role in increasing the power of OpenAI in the AI scenario. In 2019, Altman, Sutskever and Greg Brockman jointly formed OpenAI LP, a for-profit entity within a larger non-profit company structure. A few years later, the company acquired a valuation of $90 billion.

In a statement, Altman said the news of Sutskever’s passing was “very sad.”

“I am forever grateful for what he has done here and am committed to completing the mission we started together,” Altman said.

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