- Getting fired from OpenAI was “unbelievably painful,” says Sam Altman.
- Altman said “the only comparable set of life experience” he had was when his father passed away.
- Altman was fired as CEO on November 17, but returned just days later.
Altman was abruptly ousted from the job on November 17. The chaotic leadership transition saw the appointment of two interim CEOs before Altman was reinstated just days later.
Altman, who said his firing was “unbelievably painful,” drew parallels between that experience and the grief he felt when his dad passed away in 2018. Altman’s father was 67 when he died of a heart attack, per New York Magazine.
“It was so unexpected that I had to pick up the pieces of his life for a little while. And it wasn’t until like a week after that, that I really got a moment to just catch my breath and be like, holy shit, I can’t believe this happened,” Altman told Noah of his father’s passing.
“So that was much worse, but there’s echoes of that same thing here,” he continued.
Altman’s sudden departure from the ChatGPT maker caught the tech world by surprise. OpenAI’s board said in the statement announcing his firing that Altman “was not consistently candid in his communications with the board” but did not give further details.
“To all of you, our team: I am sure books are going to be written about this time period, and I hope the first thing they say is how amazing the entire team has been,” Altman wrote in a message to the company on November 29.