Yet another UK.gov figure joins Amazon Web Services payroll

Alex Holmes, deputy director of cyber security at DCMS, joins Liam Maxwell at cloud giant

Exclusive Amazon Web Services has hired Alex Holmes, the deputy director of cyber security at the Department of Culture, Media and Sport - another senior British IT government figure to move to the cloud biz.

Holmes has worked in various tech roles for more than a decade, including as the head of spending controls at the Cabinet Office and chief operating officer at the UK’s Government Data Service.

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Sources told us Holmes will work for AWS’s public sector team in an “international” role but that he will not report to Liam Maxwell, the one-time top tech advisor to the British administration.

Maxwell left in October to become AWS director of international government transformation. He was a grade two senior civil servant employed by DCMS and his hiring was subject to approval by the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments (ACOBA).

The AWS newbie was not subject to ACOBA but he did need to meet “strict business appointment requirements” that civil servants are bound by, a source told us.

Holmes, as was the case with Maxwell, is prohibited from lobbying the UK government for two years. Hence the "international role". And escaping Britain in its current state might be appealing to some.

When he was appointed, Maxwell continued to work as tech advisor for several months, a decision that rankled some feathers among AWS rivals for obvious reasons. El Reg has yet to confirm Holmes' start date: he was still privy to confidential information and in a position to influence buying decisions.

In fact Maxwell was one of the main proponents of the "cloud first" procurement policy that was introduced by UK.gov, an advisory that helped AWS and other cloud giants.

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Under the GCloud marketplace that serves the British public sector, departments have spent a total of £82.36m with AWS UK, AWS Inc and the firm's Luxembourg-based Euro entity, AWS Sarl. That figure is dwarfed by those of other tech outfits, but AWS is estimated to be the fastest growing cloud vendor in the sector.

Microsoft, which is also a beneficiary of taxpayers’ money, has itself fallen under the spotlight after one of its veeps, Jacky Wright, went to HMRC as CIO on a two-year sabbatical. Wright recused herself from decisions pertaining to buying Microsoft stuff.

DCMS refused to comment but, as with all business appointments, the details will be published as part of the quarterly DCMS transparency returns. The Register also asked AWS to comment but as with all US-based firms, we won’t expect a comment until the relevant marketing people stateside have woken up. ®




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