Welp. While Mark Zuckerberg gets the grilling of a lifetime on Capitol Hill, the firm at the center of all of this is losing its top (if temporary) executive. As day two of the Facebook testimony was unfolding, Cambridge Analytica sent out a brief statement from its Board of Directors, noting that acting CEO Alexander Tayler was stepping down from the gig.
The two sentence press release thanked Tayler, “for his service in what has been a challenging time for the company.” Well, yeah. Tayler will be sticking with Cambridge Analytica, however, returning to his former role as Chief Data Officer.
Tayler stepped into the temporary after it was vacated in late-March, when then-CEO Alexander Nix was suspended following the release of an undercover video shot by the UK’s Channel 4 News. Shortly after his appointment, Tayler reportedly told employees that he didn’t expect Nix to return to the company.
The exact reason for this latest move isn’t clear just yet. The company says the executive did so “in order to focus on the various technical investigations and inquiries,” but given everything swirling around the company at the moment, it’s probably safe to say that there’s a little more to it than that. Cambridge Analytica has yet to name a temporary (or permanent) replacement for its temporary replacement.
Update: The Wall St Journal reports that Julian Wheatland, chair of Cambridge Analytica’s British counterpart, SCL Group, will be taking over as CEO. Nix, the paper’s sources told it, has officially submitted his resignation. Neither company has posted or confirmed either of these actions publicly.
The company has been at the center of Facebook’s latest controversy ever since it was revealed that as many as 87 million users potentially had their data exposed to the firm. Even more damning information has been exposed over the course of Zuckerberg’s two-day grilling, including the revelation that users’ inboxes may have also been exposed.
The firm, meanwhile, has been attempting to do damage control on social media over the last 48 hours — but most of the damage is, no doubt, already done.