Posted by Ryan Gibbons.

DeepMind’s Mustafa Suleyman left the company in August of 2019. With little to no reason, the co-founder decided to walk away from his company. DeepMind is an artificial intelligence company which was founded in 2010. In 2014, it was acquired by Google. People assumed Suleyman would return to the company a short while after his departure, but that has not been the case. Suleyman took a job with Google, being in AI policy role. However, the switch may not be as out of the blue as people thought.

A report from the Wall Street Journal cited that Suleyman had his management duties and responsibilities taken away due to bullying his staff. To add on, Google and DeepMind confirmed these claims, also stating that a legal team was hired to investigate the situation. When asked to speak on the matter, Suleyman did not have anything to say. However, he did speak to the Wall Street Journal stating, “response to questions from The Wall Street Journal he said he “accepted feedback that, as a co-founder at DeepMind, I drove people too hard and at times my management style was not constructive.””

This story relates back to ethics in the workplace. When a company first starts out, they want to create an ethical code of conduct. The company should create a conduct to show what is expected at the workplace ethically, and communicate it to the employees. Employees should also be made aware of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, which allows employees to confidentially go to court if the company is committing illegal or unethical acts. While it was great that DeepMind was able to figure out what Suleyman was doing, perhaps the situation could have been avoided all together if they took time to go over ethics at the workplace with their staff.

Ryan is a political science major at Seton Hall University, Class of 2025.