The scandals that shook the business world in 2023

MT rounds up some of the biggest scandals at home and abroad, as a reminder of how *not* to do business.

by Antonia Garrett Peel

As Plc winds down for the festive break, most businesses will be looking back on a mixed bag of triumphs and disappointments. However, for a minority, 2023 will forever be remembered for its explosive revelations, embarrassing debacles, or, simply, as the year it all came crashing down. We’re here to remind you of the twists and turns.

“We are so back”

Blink and you might have missed it. For a brief period in November, the world’s most powerful AI player played a game of leadership whac-a-mole with new CEOs popping up left, right and centre before being firmly beaten back into their boxes. Five days, four board rebels, three board casualties, two mass job offers and one cheesy selfie later, we were back where we started with Sam Altman once again on the throne. The fiasco, though fleeting, promises fodder for the Silicon Valley rumour mill for many months to come. Why was the OpenAI co-founder ousted in the first place? Can we really blame the Big Bad Board? And what the heck is Q*? Any answers, ChatGPT?

Fall of a crypto king

2023 has heralded a change of look for former crypto wunderkind Sam Bankman-Fried. The founder of FTX was once known for his trademark rumpled t-shirt, short and trainer attire, and perplexing shoelace knots (if you know, you know). Today, prison apparel is the flavour of the month – well, indefinite future – as the erstwhile ‘crypto king’ awaits sentencing following his conviction on seven charges of fraud and conspiracy. Bankman-Fried’s garbs were once heavily analysed, interpreted variously as suggesting a lovable nerdiness, unique breed of tech bro ‘peacocking’ or very conscious effort to build his eccentric genius brand. His new look is less ambiguous.

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