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6 Top Tech CEOs Fired For Ethical Lapses, Leadership Style and Other Reasons ChatGPT creator OpenAI has fired CEO Sam Altman

By Entrepreneur Staff

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Image credit: Wiki Media Commons

Open AI said on Friday that it has fired its co-founder and CEO Sam Altman after a review found he was "not consistently candid in his communications" with the board of directors. "The board no longer has confidence in his ability to continue leading OpenAI," the company said in a statement.

Mira Murati, OpenAI's chief technology officer, will take over as interim CEO effective immediately till it finds a permanent replacement. The company also asked its co-founder Greg Brockman to leave, who on Saturday said that he and Sam were shocked and saddened by what the board did. He also added that they were still trying to figure out what happened.

"Last night, Sam got a text from Ilya asking to talk at noon Friday. Sam joined a Google Meet and the whole board, except Greg, was there. Ilya told Sam he was being fired and that the news was going out very soon," Brockman wrote.

Here are six top global CEOs, including Altman, who have been asked to leave for various reasons:

Sam Altman

"Mr. Altman's departure follows a deliberative review process by the board, which concluded that he was not consistently candid in his communications with the board, hindering its ability to exercise its responsibilities. The board no longer has confidence in his ability to continue leading OpenAI," read a blog post by OpenAI, announcing the CEO's departure.

Altman, 38, became a sensation after the release of ChatGPT. He was also called the poster boy of the artificial intelligence (AI) revolution. That's why the news of his departure has come in as a shock to many tech enthusiasts. Altman posted Friday on X: "i loved my time at openai. it was transformative for me personally, and hopefully the world a little bit. most of all i loved working with such talented people. will have more to say about what's next later."

Steve Jobs

Apple fired Steve Jobs in 1985 because he had a disagreement with the CEO and the board. The reason quoted was Jobs' alleged abrasive and authoritarian approach with people. He was blamed for pushing people too hard and encouraging a toxic work environment. Speculations said that Jobs' ousting was due to his confrontational management style and inability to work well as a team player. "Jobs demanded so much from the people who worked for him. That was part of his greatness...But he drove people too hard," said William Simon, in the book, iCon: Steve Jobs, the Greatest Second Act in the History of Business.

Jack Dorsey

In November 2021, Jack Dorsey stepped down as the CEO of Twitter, a company co-founded by him in 2006. Dorsey had faced pressure for over a year to exit from investors who felt that he was overcommitted as he is also the CEO of payments company Square. In his resignation letter on the platform, Dorsey said that the importance companies currently place on being 'founder-led is "severely limiting," and creates a "single point of failure," while reassuring Twitter's users that he had always planned to step down having created his vision of a company that can break away from its founding.

Carol Bartz

Just two and a half years after taking over Internet icon Yahoo, which was not doing well anymore, the CEO Carol Bartz was asked to leave in September 2011. TechCrunch reported that Bartz messaged Yahoo employees that she was fired over the phone by Yahoo's Chairman of the Board. "The board was so spooked by being cast as the worst board in the country. Now they're trying to show that they're not the doofuses that they are," she told Fortune magazine in her first interview since she was fired.

Parag Agarwal

The former chief executive of Twitter, now called 'X', Parag Agarwal was fired after a dinner with Elon Musk last year. During the dinner, Musk reportedly felt that Agarwal was not the 'fire-breathing dragon' that Musk thought was the need of the hour for the platform. According to an excerpt, accessed by Wall Street Journal, from the biography of Elon Musk, Musk thought Agrawal was nice but lacked leadership qualities. He also thought that Twitter needed a 'fire-breathing dragon' and Agrawal was not that.

Ashneer Grover

In India, the most recent and spoken about exit was that of fintech giant BharatPe's former co-founder Ashneer Grover. BharatPe had sacked him and his wife Madhuri Jain early last year over allegations of financial fraud. Reacting to Altman's news, the former BharatPe co-founder and managing director wrote in a tweet that was taken down later, "Sam - I am going through the same things in India. First they come after your role / shares - then they come after you personally. It's a long fight ! Stick on !! It's a template now of the startup Boards and investors globally - all ego - no intellect. People are smart enough to see through"

Entrepreneur Staff

Entrepreneur Staff


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