Off down the Amazon: DCMS confirms UK national tech advisor Maxwell has resigned

He'll help AWS to 'transform' international governments

Exclusive The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport has today confirmed the resignation of Liam Maxwell, though the UK government’s top tech advisor will work his notice period and not leave until October.

As exclusively revealed by The Register earlier this week, Maxwell is set to swap life in the public sector for a position at Amazon Web Services. As with all business appointments, his recruitment will be published as part of the quarterly DCMS transparency return.

El Reg can now reveal that the exact title Maxwell will hold is "director of international government transformation".

The position will not be initially focused on Britain as Maxwell is prohibited from lobbying UK government for two years. Instead he will be tasked with jetting around the world, promoting AWS to other “developing nations”, a well-placed source told us.

Maybe all the time and UK taxpayer money spent visiting other nations will stand the man in good stead when he finally joins AWS. Maxwell represented the UK element of the Digital 5 group of "digitally advanced governments".

The fact Maxwell will remain in situ for several more months has already caught the attention of AWS rivals, who are angered at previously sharing sensitive strategic information, including pricing and roadmap development, with someone who will ultimately join a rival.

It is unthinkable that any of these large tech firms will want to continue to talk candidly to Maxwell, the UK's national technology advisor since 2016.

Maxwell, a grade two senior civil servant who was permanently employed by DCMS - he was not a contractor - has a three-month notice period, indicating that he may have given resignation notification at some point in July.

As we pointed out earlier in the week, Maxwell’s recruitment raises questions about the application of the rules governing business appointments: these rules are designed to prevent companies from hiring someone with inside knowledge of competitors, and stop ex-officials from capitalising on access to Whitehall projects/ contracts.

El Reg is not saying Maxwell has done anything to flout the regulations, but perhaps the regulations need tightening up. This is certainly the opinion of some sources at AWS rivals. ®




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