Sam Altman, the former CEO of OpenAI, was recently fired by the company’s board due to a loss of confidence in his leadership abilities. Altman, who had been leading OpenAI since 2019, is set to join Microsoft. In the interim, Twitch co-founder Emmett Shear has been appointed as the AI firm’s CEO.
However, Altman is not the only CEO who has faced termination from their own company. A recent post on X, formerly Twitter, highlighted a list of high-profile founders who have been ousted from their companies in the past. The list includes Steve Jobs from Apple, Jack Dorsey from Twitter, Noah Glass from Twitter, and Travis Kalanick from Uber, among others.
In 1985, Steve Jobs, one of the co-founders of Apple, was fired from the company following conflicts with the board of directors. Jobs’ confrontational management style and perceived interpersonal deficiencies were cited as reasons for his dismissal.
Similarly, Jack Dorsey, one of the co-founders of Twitter, was removed from his position as CEO in 2008. The board of directors deemed him unsuitable for leadership due to issues such as failure to resolve recurring service disruptions and his focus on fashion design and yoga.
However, Dorsey was reinstated as CEO in 2015 and held the position for six years before resigning in 2021. Parag Agrawal took over as CEO following Dorsey’s departure.
Travis Kalanick, the former CEO of Uber, stepped down from his position in 2017. This decision came amidst a major crisis in the company, with allegations of gender discrimination and sexual harassment surfacing.
Jerry Yang, co-founder of Yahoo Inc, also faced resignation in 2012. Shareholders criticized Yang for pursuing an ineffective personal vision and impeding investment deals that could have helped the struggling company.
These cases reflect the challenges faced by CEOs, even those who are founders of their own companies. Leadership conflicts, operational issues, and strategic missteps can lead to the removal of even the most high-profile executives.