Julian Wheatland, former COO & CFO of Cambridge Analytica and SCL, was interviewed frequently during Netflix’s The Great Hack documentary. Where is Wheatland now and what is he doing? Read on for more details.
Wheatland Describes Himself as a Serial Entrepreneur on LinkedIn
In the documentary, Wheatland said that Alexander Nix, the former CEO of Cambridge Analytica, was focused on building a strong elections business and wanted to provide a service to Republican politics in the United States. Later, Nix was suspended from Cambridge Analytica, shortly before the company itself and its subsidiaries all declared bankruptcy.
Today, Wheatland describes himself on LinkedIn as a “serial entrepreneur.” He describes himself this way on LinkedIn:
Serial entrepreneur with a track record of financing, establishing, leading and developing a wide range of businesses.
An experienced general manager having successfully run both small and large companies in the manufacturing and service sectors.
Most recently, Chief Operating Officer / Chief Finance Officer of a leading global data analytics and digital marketing business.”
His last listed job is as COO & CFO of SCL Group. The description reads: “Led global operations of SCL and built out US operations to focus North American business on commercial and government markets, creating strong teams of highly talented and motivated staff. … SCL USA is the North American arm of this innovative data analytics and digital marketing business, providing end to end service from analysis of customer data, creative production through to targeted digital advertising activation.”
Wheatland was also briefly the CEO of Cambridge Analytica, from April to June 2018, after Nix was suspended. In May, he told 40 New York employees that CA and SCL filed bankruptcy and employees should clean out their desks that day, NBC News reported. He was emotional when he made the announcement, employees told NBC, but he also just “grabbed his belongings and got on a plane… He didn’t even say goodbye.”
Wheatland Wants To Have Public Conversations About Data & Privacy
Wheatland told Fast Company in July that he’s focusing now on publicly discussing the lessons we can learn from Cambridge Analytica, and he wants to have public conversations about data and privacy.
Wheatland has been sharing news about The Great Hack documentary. When it released, he shared a story about it on LInkedIn and he attended a screening for the documentary in San Francisco. He wrote on LinkedIn: “Just arrived in San Francisco for tonight’s screening of the thegreathack and a discussion with Kara Swisher and the amazing Roger McNamee on how we build a new data world!”
He’s been posting on Twitter about the documentary too. Wheatland just joined Twitter in December 2018 but has only tweeted a few times so far. On Twitter he said about the documentary:
“#TheGreatHack comes out on July 24… Then you can watch the self-promoters (you know who you are) pile in to claim their 15 minutes of fame… Meanwhile, back in the real world… We need to focus on the real questions about how we manage privacy, data issues and technology. #thegreathack”
He Said Facebook Should Be Regulated Like a Utility Monopoly
In July, Wheatland said on Twitter that he didn’t think Facebook’s $5 billion fine would make any difference.
“I honestly don’t think a $5bn fine for Facebook is going to make any difference. Isn’t it time we regulated them like the monopoly utility they are? #thegreathack on your screens soon…”
He Said David Carroll Doesn’t Understand Emerdata
In July, Wheatland told Fast Company that David Carroll, a key figure in the documentary who filed a lawsuit against Cambridge Analytica, had “zero understanding” of Emerdata. He said Emerdata was simply a holding company and anything else about it is a “conspiracy theory.”
Wheatland played a role in founding Emerdata in 2017, but he resigned earlier in 2019. He told Fast Company that he resigned because the company was inert. Fast Company asked him if Emerdata would cease operations after the subsidiaries are all liquidated. He said, “that would be my expectation, but I also don’t think there’s any rush to do it, either. It’s a dormant company.”
Emerdata covered SCL companies’ bills during bankruptcy proceedings, Fast Company noted.
Wheatland Has Said That Cambridge Analytica Employees Were Shocked by the Channel 4 Video
He said that after the undercover Channel 4 videos were released: “Everyone was in a state of shock… [They] walked away from the screen in silence, back to their desks.”
At the end of the documentary, he warned that other companies will do what Cambridge did. “This technology is going on unabated and will continue to go on… Because of the way this technology is moving so fast…there was always going to be a Cambridge Analytica…”
Wheatland didn’t have kind words for Chris Wylie, the whistleblower in the documentary. “Chris Wylie set out to kill the company,” he said. “…I don’t know what Brittany [Kaiser] was doing… Brittany was someone I thought was a friend… But when the world gets turned upside down, people behave in different ways.”