Stability AI CEO Emad Mostaque has resigned from the UK AI startup following months of tension with investors as well as senior staff departures.

The UK startup is best known for its Stable Diffusion product, an image generation tool that helped pioneer the popularity of GenAI tools. Stability was earlier to commercialise its product which capitalised on the popularity of GenAI tools. The startup was valued at $1bn in 2022.

COO Shan Shan Wong and CTO Christian Laforte will be appointed as interim co-CEOs, according to the company.

Mostaque, who co-founded Stability AI in 2019, said he was leaving the company to pursue decentralised AI. Writing on X, Mostaque said it is not possible to beat “centralised AI” with more “centralised AI,” referencing the ownership strategy of AI startups like OpenAI.

“We should have more transparent & distributed governance in AI as it becomes more and more important. It is a hard problem, but I think we can fix it,” Mostaque wrote. “The concentration of power in AI is bad for us all. I decided to step down to fix this at Stability & elsewhere.”

Mostaque has attracted a flurry of controversy during his time as CEO.

Fellow co-founder Cyrus Hodes filed a lawsuit against Mostaque and the company last year, alleging that he had been tricked into selling his stake a few months before a large fundraising round. Both Mostauqe and Stability AI denied the allegations.

Mostaque also came under fire during his time at Stability AI for his exaggerated statements about himself and the startup. Famously, the former CEO allegedly told fellow staff members that he used to be a secret agent in the UK government, according to sources who spoke to Bloomberg.

In 2023, some of Stability AI’s leading investors called for Mostaque to step down as CEO.