On Friday though, the skeptics won out, and one of the most famous living founders was suddenly relieved of duty. Adding to the sense of chaos, the board made little effort to ensure a smooth transition. In its statement announcing the decision, the board implied that Altman had been dishonest — “not consistently candid in his communications,” it said in its explosive announcement. The board didn’t specify any dishonesty and OpenAI Chief Operating Officer Brad Lightcap later said in a memo to employees that it was not accusing Altman of malfeasance, chalking his removal up not to a debate over safety, but a “breakdown in communication.” The board had also moved without consulting with Microsoft, leaving Nadella “livid” at the hasty termination of a crucial business partner, according to a person familiar with his thinking. Nadella was “blindsided” by the news, this person said.