LONDON—Alexander Nix, the man who was running Cambridge Analytica when it harvested the Facebook data of tens of millions of voters without their knowledge so it could be exploited by the Trump 2016 campaign, has been banned from directing any companies for seven years.
The now-defunct Cambridge Analytica was a U.K. digital black-ops firm that collapsed in 2018 following revelations that it secretly collected Facebook profile information on 87 million people. The Daily Beast revealed two years ago that Team Trump used audience lists created by Cambridge Analytica to target “dark ads” on Facebook during the final months of the 2016 campaign and until Trump’s inauguration.
Nix gained notoriety as the face of Cambridge Analytica when he inadvertently revealed the shocking extent of its dubious operations. The company’s former chief executive was secretly recorded by Britain’s Channel 4 blabbing about his firm's work for Trump and effectively claiming that Cambridge Analytica was to thank for Trump becoming president.
Nix said in the secret recording, “We did all the research, all the data, all the analytics, all the targeting, we ran all the digital campaign, the television campaign and our data informed all the strategy.”
The footage, in which he bragged about apparently illegal campaign tactics used on jobs in other parts of the world, was the beginning of his and Cambridge Analytica’s swift and spectacular downfall. Nix was suspended as CEO when the tapes were broadcast in March 2018, the company collapsed in May that year. It was thereafter forced into compulsory liquidation in April 2019.
Now, Nix has been slapped with a new punishment that will prevent him from directing any companies until October 2027.
The British government’s Insolvency Service confirmed Thursday that Nix will be “disqualified for seven years from acting as a director or directly or indirectly becoming involved, without the permission of the court, in the promotion, formation or management of a company.”
In the statement, the government agency condemned Nix for allowing Cambridge Analytica to carry out what it called “unethical services,” which it said included “bribery or honey trap stings, voter disengagement campaigns, obtaining information to discredit political opponents and spreading information anonymously in political campaigns.”
Mark Bruce, the chief investigator for the Insolvency Service, said that Cambridge Analytica’s parent company, SCL Elections, “repeatedly offered shady political services to potential clients over a number of years.”
The chief investigator went on to say in his statement: “Alexander Nix’s actions did not meet the appropriate standard for a company director and his disqualification from managing limited companies for a significant amount of time is justified in the public interest.”
The Insolvency Service said Nix has signed the disqualification notice.
Britain’s punitive action against Nix comes nearly a year after the U.S. Federal Trade Commission came to a settlement with him and Aleksandr Kogan, who developed the app which allowed Cambridge Analytica to harvest the personal information of millions of Americans.