Sam Altman’s 'outright lying' led to ousting: Former OpenAI board member says - Hindustan Times

Sam Altman’s 'outright lying' led to ousting: Former OpenAI board member says

May 29, 2024 07:51 PM IST

A former board member of OpenAI said that Sam Altman withholding information and even lying to the board led to his ousting.

Sam Altman’s ousting from OpenAI last year was a result of him “withholding information,” “misrepresenting things that were happening at the company,” and “outright lying to the board,” according to Helen Toner, a former board member of OpenAI who spoke on the Ted AI Show podcast.

OpenAI CEO Sam Altman(AFP)
OpenAI CEO Sam Altman(AFP)

OpenAI’s board suddenly ousted Sam Altman on November 17th, 2023. He was subsequently reinstated as CEO just five days later. Helen Toner was one of the board members responsible for ousting Altman.

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She revealed that despite being members of the board, they learned about the launch of ChatGPT only on X (formerly Twitter).

She also said that Altman did not disclose his ownership of the OpenAI startup fund, which eroded the board’s trust in him. The board was already planning to remove him by October 2023.

“[I]t was very clear to all of us that as soon as Sam had any inkling that we might do something that went against him, he would pull out all the stops, do everything in his power to undermine the board, to prevent us from even getting to the point of being able to fire him,” said Helen Toner.

Also Read | OpenAI sets up Safety and Security Committee featuring Sam Altman after row

She said that the board felt the only way to replace Altman was to go behind his back.

OpenAI’s Chairperson Bret Taylor responded in a statement, saying that OpenAI worked with the law firm Wilmer Hale to conduct a review of the event, with the conclusion being that the prior board’s decision was not based on concerns regarding product safety or security, the pace of development, OpenAI’s finances, or its statements to investors, customers, or business partners.

Over 95 percent of employees, including senior leadership, asked for Sam’s reinstatement as CEO and the resignation of the prior board, he said.

Also Read | OpenAI’s voice scandal sounds larger AI alarm

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