OpenAI exec addresses CEO Sam Altman’s firing in note to employees — Read the full memo

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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 echoed similar comments made by the company on Friday, noting a “breakdown in communication” between Altman and the board.

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

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%.”

OpenAI CEO Sam Altman speaks during the OpenAI DevDay event on November 06, 2023 in San Francisco, California.

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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. 

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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.

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