NCSC’s Ian Levy to join Amazon as senior executive
Image: NCSC
Alexander Martin November 17, 2022

NCSC’s Ian Levy to join Amazon as senior executive

NCSC’s Ian Levy to join Amazon as senior executive

Dr. Ian Levy, the outgoing technical director at the U.K.’s National Cyber Security Centre, will reportedly be joining Amazon in a senior executive role.

Back in October, Levy confirmed his departure from crown service in a lengthy farewell blog post. He did not disclose, after spending more than 20 years in various roles at GCHQ — Britain’s signals intelligence and cyber agency — where he would be going next.

Before joining the intelligence community, Levy had run his own business and was a post-doctoral researcher in computer science at the University of Warwick.

Read more: What’s next for NCSC’s Ian Levy? ‘A Proper Job,’ he tells The Record

Sky News first reported Levy’s appointment at Amazon. The broadcaster said that his role would be at Amazon itself rather than Amazon Web Services, the company’s cloud computing arm which holds numerous government contracts.

The normal process when crown servants join companies in the private sector is for the individual to seek an advice letter from the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments (ACOBA), which is intended to prevent corruption when public servants move into the private sector.

ACOBA can issue conditions to appointments, such as recommending that individuals are prohibited from lobbying the government or former colleagues on behalf of the company for a set period of time, often the maximum of two years.

It often seeks input from the candidate’s former employers to check whether they have any reservations about the application, and whether the individual had any interaction with the company while in office for which their later employment could be deemed a “reward”.

However the committee has no powers to enforce its advice or to sanction individuals who ignore it. It works entirely on the voluntary cooperation of the individuals concerned and as such has repeatedly been criticized as being a “toothless” regulator, including by the committee’s chair.

Amazon and the NCSC declined to comment on Levy’s appointment. ACOBA has previously expressed frustration when appointments were publicly confirmed before issuing its advice, particularly in the case of the former head of GCHQ, Robert Hannigan, who joined the advisory board for BlueteamGlobal before ACOBA had told him its view of his taking the role.

Alexander Martin is the UK Editor for The Record. He was previously a technology reporter for Sky News and is also a fellow at the European Cyber Conflict Research Initiative.