Sam Altman Is Being Investigated By The SEC

OpenAI and its embattled CEO, Sam Altman, are reportedly under investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) regarding statements made to the company’s investors. According to the Wall Street Journal, the SEC is examining emails, including those sent by and to Altman, to determine if investors were misled during the November turmoil that led to Altman’s removal and subsequent reinstatement.

During the tumultuous events that unfolded, with Microsoft employees dubbing it the “Turkey-Shoot Clusterfuck,” OpenAI’s board initially cited Altman’s lack of “consistently candid” communication as grounds for his dismissal. However, Altman was swiftly reinstated following an employee revolt, with a revised board composition that excluded those responsible for his ouster.

The SEC’s inquiry aims to ascertain the veracity of OpenAI’s communications during this period of upheaval. This scrutiny is not unprecedented, as officials from the US attorney’s office in Manhattan and other regulators reportedly questioned executives about the board’s statement even as the leadership change was unfolding.

The investigation, based in New York, has led SEC officials to request that senior OpenAI employees preserve internal documents. This step is standard practice in such investigations, reflecting the agency’s typical investigative procedures.

News of the SEC investigation comes on the heels of reports that an internal investigation by the WilmerHale law firm into Altman’s removal is nearing completion. Altman has reportedly indicated to insiders that the investigation’s findings may be presented to the OpenAI board in early March.

Despite these developments, details of the Thanksgiving drama at OpenAI remain largely undisclosed to the public. However, the company’s continued development of products like ChatGPT and the upcoming text-to-video generator Sora highlights its prominent position in the AI industry.

The SEC’s investigation may compel OpenAI to provide greater transparency regarding the events surrounding Altman’s removal and reinstatement, potentially shedding light on a pivotal moment in the company’s history.

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