From 2009 to 2010 Sven Hughes worked for SCL group, the parent company of the controversial — now deceased — Cambridge Analytica. SCL/Cambridge Analytica and its CEO Alexander Nix have been in the news a lot lately, chiefly because of their role in the Trump campaign. The fall of Cambridge Analytica was prompted by a Channel 4 documentary in which Nix boasted about running ‘counter ops’ — sting operations and so on — against political opponents. The firm shut down on Wednesday.
In this podcast, Sven, now the CEO of a company called Verbalisation, talks to me about his part in those ‘counter ops’ in elections in the Caribbean; about working with Nix and the mysterious figure of Christian Kalin, the head of Henley & Partners, a ‘citizenship by investment’ company which I wrote about here. We also discuss his realisation that SCL were a deeply unethical organisation and why he still thinks psychological marketing techniques can and should be used for good not ill. Have a listen.