Tech CEO commits to donating over half his wealth amid turmoil

Celebrity CEO commits to philanthropy after botched corporate coup attempt

Tech CEO commits to donating over half his wealth amid turmoil

The Giving Pledge has announced that OpenAI CEO Sam Altman has committed to donating over half his fortune, as reported by The Canadian Press.

This decision follows a challenging six months for Altman, who co-founded the San Francisco-based company behind ChatGPT. Forbes reports that Altman, a venture capitalist, has amassed much of his $1 billion through investments.

According to CNBC, Altman’s removal and subsequent reinstatement as CEO last November surprised the rapidly commercializing industry, as internal conflicts threatened one of its prominent voices on artificial intelligence.

Altman, who initially founded his company as a nonprofit research lab dedicated to safely building AI for humanity's benefit, now aims to focus his philanthropic efforts on “technology that helps create abundance for people.”

In a May 18 Giving Pledge letter, Altman and his husband, technology investor Oliver Mulherin, expressed their gratitude:

“We would not be making this pledge if it weren’t for the hard work, brilliance, generosity, and dedication to improve the world of many people that built the scaffolding of society that let us get here. There is nothing we can do except feel immense gratitude and commit to pay it forward and do what we can to build the scaffolding up a little higher.”

Bill Gates, Melinda French Gates, and Warren Buffett founded the Giving Pledge in 2010 to encourage philanthropy among the world's wealthiest individuals. Over 240 signatories from 30 countries have committed to giving most of their wealth to charity.

However, critics argue that there is little oversight to ensure these commitments are fulfilled.

Before this major philanthropic commitment Altman was fired as CEO last year November, as reported by CNBC. Former OpenAI board member Helen Toner spoke on a podcast about the events leading to Altman’s firing.

She revealed that the board learned about the release of ChatGPT on Twitter and was unaware of Altman’s ownership of the OpenAI startup fund.

Toner stated that the board was set up to ensure the company’s mission prioritized public good over profits, but Altman’s withholding of information and misrepresentations made it difficult for the board to perform its duties.

She mentioned that multiple occasions of providing inaccurate information about safety processes led the board to lose trust in Altman, making it unworkable to continue under his leadership.

Toner also explained that in October, executives shared concerns about Altman, including documentation of problematic interactions, which described a toxic atmosphere and psychological abuse.

These revelations, combined with the high-profile departures and OpenAI’s recent disbandment of its long-term AI risks team, underscore the ongoing internal challenges.

Despite these issues, Altman was reinstated as CEO within a week of his firing, following resignations and threats from employees and investors.