Editorial

Former GDS DDaT supremo pops up at Amazon

Her new job: leading teams of architects supporting healthcare, education, local government and non-profit customers for AWS

Posted 16 December 2019 by

Another senior public sector IT leader has crossed over to ‘The Dark Side’ and gone to work for a major vendor.

In this case, it’s former GDS luminary Holly Ellis, who has jumped over to Amazon, following Liam Maxwell, who became the cloud giant’s director of International Government Transformation.

‘Amazon Web Services Logo’ by GBPublic_PR on Flickr

Ellis had been director of Digital, Data and technology (DDaT) for the Department of International Trade after a stint as director of capability for the same profession at the Government Digital Service, after starting her career in the public sector at the Home Office.

Now, she has a new job as “senior manager for solution architects for the public sector UK and Ireland”. What that means in practice, according to Amazon, is that she’s tasked with leading teams of architects supporting healthcare, education, local government and non-profit customers.

AWS has been careful to state that in this new job Ellis will not be involved in any activity that would breach her obligations under the Civil Service’s Business Appointment Rules – which presumably means, not selling AWS back to her former colleagues.

Nonetheless, given that AWS is the fourth biggest supplier of infrastructure to government last year, the fact so many Whitehall heavyweights are moving there will give many smaller suppliers pause for thought.

For example, high-profile IT news and analysis website diginomica government quoted an unnamed source as saying, “nobody in government would criticise AWS as AWS is their passport out of government”.