Stability AI, a prominent artificial intelligence startup, has experienced the departure of several top executives in recent weeks, including its head of research and chief operating officer. David Ha, who served as the head of research for the London-based company, resigned this month, while Chief Operating Officer Ren Ito left in June. Ha declined to comment on his departure, while Ito did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
According to Stability AI spokesman Motez Bishara, Ha took a break from his employment at the company for personal reasons. Bishara also stated that Ito left to pursue other interests, expressing gratitude for their contributions to Stability AI and wishing them both well.
These departures come on the heels of an article in Forbes that raised questions about Stability AI’s founder and CEO, Emad Mostaque, alleging a “history of exaggeration.” Mostaque refuted these allegations in a blog post. During the Bloomberg Technology Summit in June, Mostaque addressed the report, mentioning his Asperger’s and ADHD, and emphasizing his unique perspective on the future.
Stability AI, last valued at $1 billion by investors, gained recognition for popularizing Stable Diffusion, an open-source image generator it released in August 2022. Although the startup did not create the product, it supported its development and has highlighted that most of its original researchers now work for the company. Stable Diffusion emerged as a significant competitor to OpenAI’s Dall-E, and Stability AI has since trained and released multiple versions of the tool.
Prior to joining Stability AI, David Ha worked at Alphabet Inc.’s Google Brain division as a research scientist focused on generative artificial intelligence. At Stability AI, he played a role in recruitment and led the company’s research efforts.
Ha and Ito are not the only notable individuals to depart from Stability AI after a relatively short period. Christian Cantrell, who joined as the vice president of product in October, left the startup in March after a lengthy tenure at Adobe. Cantrell was responsible for overseeing offerings such as Stability AI’s application programming interfaces and its DreamStudio software, which enables image production and editing using the Stable Diffusion image generator. Cantrell decided to depart to start his own company.
These personnel changes present a challenge for Stability AI as it navigates the evolving landscape of AI technology and seeks to maintain its position in the industry.