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Business News/ Companies / People/  From Apple's Steve Jobs to OpenAI's Sam Altman: Here's the list of founders fired from their own companies

From Apple's Steve Jobs to OpenAI's Sam Altman: Here's the list of founders fired from their own companies

OpenAI's founder Sam Altman was fired from his position as CEO after a review found he was not consistently candid with the board of directors. The list of founders ousted from their own companies includes Steve Jobs, Jack Dorsey, Travis Kalanick, and more.

Steve Jobs and Sam Altman. Premium
Steve Jobs and Sam Altman.

The opportunity to work for yourself is one of the most alluring features of entrepreneurship. However, the reality looks contradictory. If your business becomes profitable, then you don't work for yourself. You may lose your job at your own company because the employer now becomes your board of directors, shareholders, and investors.

A recent such example is OpenAI's founder Sam Altman who was ousted fired from his position as the Chief Executive Officer of the artificial intelligence company after a review found that he was ‘not consistently candid in his communications’ with the board of directors.

Altman's ouster has pushed many to draw parallels between what happened with Apple and its founder Steve Jobs about four decades ago, and what happened with the OpenAI's co-founder.

The list of founders ousted from their own companies doesn't end here! It also includes Twitter's Jack Dorsey and Noah Glass, Uber's Travis Kalanick, Groupon's Andrew Mason, Yahoo's Jerry Yang, JetBlue's David Neeleman, Etsy's Rob Kalin, American Apparel's Dov Charney, Men’s Wearhouse's George Zimmer, etc.

Check out the complete list here,

In a post on X (formerly Twitter), the World of Statistics posted the full list of founders who were fired from their own companies in the past.

“Founders who were fired from their own businesses: Sam Altman, OpenAI, Steve Jobs, Apple, Jack Dorsey, Twitter, Noah Glass, Twitter, Travis Kalanick, Uber…," it wrote. 

Steve Jobs vs Sam Altman: The Parallels with Job Firing

In 1985, Steve Jobs was famously fired from Apple after a power struggle with the company's board of directors. After revolutionizing personal computing and establishing a legendary brand, Jobs was ejected from the company he helped grow into a billion-dollar behemoth.

Initially, speculations had stated that Jobs' confrontational management style and poor interpersonal skills were the reasons behind his dismissal.

However, William Simon, co-author of “iCon: Steve Jobs, the Greatest Second Act in the History of Business" asserted that Jobs “demanded so much from the people who worked for him". “He was great, but drove people too hard," he said as quoted by Business Today.

Later, Steve Jobs admitted that he was acting "out of control" at the time. He then started NeXT Computer after leaving Apple, and the company was later acquired by Apple itself.

In 1997, Jobs rejoined the company as CEO. During his second tenure at Apple, Jobs took the company to new heights and achieved the greatest corporate success in history. In 2011, Jobs resigned as CEO of Apple Inc. and passed the reins to his right-hand man Tim Cook, saying he could no longer fulfill the duties in a bombshell announcement that raised fears his health had deteriorated further. He fought and survived a rare form of pancreatic cancer.

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Published: 19 Nov 2023, 12:04 PM IST
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