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The Echoes of Steve Jobs in OpenAI’s Leadership Shuffle

November 17, 2023

Will OpenAI’s firing of its co-founder and CEO, Sam Altman, a visionary on AI, turn out to be Steve Jobs and Apple, all over again.

Thirty-eight years ago, Apple fired Steve Jobs because of a clash with the then CEO, John Scully, after two new products — the Lisa and the Macintosh — failed to live up to sales expectations.

Jobs later returned to head Apple with Sculley then appreciating Jobs’ effective leadership, calling him “the greatest CEO ever.” Sculley acknowledged he was too inexperienced in 1985 to recognize Jobs’ potential role as a visionary.

Sam Altman’s firing is more than letting a CEO go. As Cade Metz of The New York Times reports, this is a significant shift at the forefront of the A.I. industry.

Altman has been renowned for his role in propelling the tech industry’s A.I. surge which we are all experiencing today.

Mira Murati, previously OpenAI’s CTO, will step in as the interim CEO.

Greg Brockman, a co-founder of OpenAI with Altman, whom I have come to know as a trusted voice on AI, via video broadcasts, and the framing of blog posts, will relinquish his chairman role while maintaining his operational position within the company, which has been President, directly reporting to the CEO.

As Metz makes clear, this leadership shuffle occurs against the backdrop of OpenAI’s huge impact in the AI realm, especially following the launch of ChatGPT.

This innovative chatbot has spurred an AI frenzy. Its ability to answer queries, craft poetry, and engage in diverse discussions has captivated hundreds of millions of users marking a groundbreaking moment in AI application and public interaction.

It will be interesting, come Monday, to see how the ground has shifted, in the AI community and in the financial community supporting AI.

I have to believe Seattle’s Microsoft is playing a significant role in the stewardship of OpenAI. It’s not only a large investor, but a large user of the company’s AI solutions in Microsoft products.

Microsoft has done very well of late and is a big believer in AI. This could be a good omen.