Alexander Nix, the former CEO who was suspended last month following the release of a video that depicted him touting campaign tactics such as entrapping political opponents with bribes and sex, has officially resigned from his position, according to a person close to the company.
Mr. Tayler, who was appointed acting CEO about three weeks ago, on Wednesday returned to his previous role as the company’s chief data officer, the company said in a statement. In that role, he will “focus on the various technical investigations and inquiries,” the statement said.
The company didn’t announce a new CEO in that statement. When Mr. Tayler told employees Wednesday he was stepping down, he said the company didn’t yet have a replacement for him, according to another person familiar with the matter.
A company spokesman said any discussion of Mr. Wheatland’s new role was “speculation” and denied that Mr. Nix had submitted his resignation, saying “the independent inquiring is ongoing.”
Mr. Tayler, an engineer by training, wasn’t comfortable being the top executive at the company, according to people familiar with the matter. During a conference call with colleagues on Tuesday, he complained of feeling like he looked “red in the face” whenever he appeared on camera, according to a person familiar with the matter.
A company spokesperson denied that Mr. Tayler made this comment, adding, “He is most needed on the tech side of the company and that’s where his focus is.” Another person said Mr. Tayler wasn’t pushed out of his role.
He had been appointed after Mr. Nix’s suspension, which came as Cambridge Analytica launched an independent investigation following the release of his sales pitch, captured by undercover journalists at British broadcaster Channel 4.
Mr. Nix’s suspension also follows reports that the company improperly used data from millions of Facebook Inc. profiles without authorization.
People close to the company said appointing Mr. Tayler as acting CEO did little to resolve the ethical issues posed by Mr. Nix’s comments in the Channel 4 video. Mr. Tayler was also present for some of the videotaped comments.
Mr. Wheatland is the chairman of SCL Group, the British affiliate and predecessor to Cambridge Analytica.
He also serves as a director on a separate company, called Emerdata Ltd., where Mr. Nix is also a board member. Rebekah Mercer, the daughter of billionaire hedge-fund executive Robert Mercer who partly owns Cambridge Analytica, also sits on Emerdata’s board.
Cambridge Analytica’s business has taken a hit in recent months. Since the 2016 election, Cambridge Analytica hasn’t retained a single federal political client, according to Federal Election Commission filings. It had instead focused largely on commercial work, with a roster of about 20 clients—roughly a quarter of whom have left the company in recent weeks, according to people close to the company.