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14 April, 2020 - 13:16 By Tony Quested

Huawei scales UK power base with heavyweight board coup

Chinese ICT giant Huawei Technologies UK has added to its credentials as a major influencer in a new technology future with a stunning board appointment in readiness for the company’s key participation in this country’s 5G rollout.

Sir Michael Rake, former president of the CBI and ex-chairman of BT group, has officially joined the board having been an adviser to the company since the start of 2019.

He was also chair of Cambridge Science Park-based Worldpay Group plc from 2015 to 2018. 

A widely respected business leader with extensive experience in telecoms, Sir Michael brings decades of boardroom and leadership experience to Huawei which is expending its R & D capability in Cambridge.
 
His guidance will help the company navigate industry challenges and deliver fast, reliable internet connections to millions of households across the UK, senior management at the company said.

Sir Michael said: “The importance of good communication infrastructure has never been more vital, as the Covid-19 crisis emphasises every day. We are all getting used to working and communicating in different ways in these difficult times and I am passionate about making sure everyone can get affordable, reliable and quick connections at home and at work. 

“Huawei and its world-leading technology is vital to that. At BT, I saw first-hand how Huawei worked with Britain’s leading operators to roll out broadband, 3G and 4G. 

“I look forward to working with them again on the next generation of technology as the company extends its 20 year track record in the UK.”

Lord Browne of Madingley, independent non-executive chairman of Huawei UK, is another Cambridge doyen – educated at the King's School, Ely and St John's College, Cambridge, where he earned a First Class BSc degree in Physics.

Lord Browne said: “I am very pleased that Sir Michael is joining the Huawei UK board. The current global crisis has demonstrated the importance of world-leading connectivity.

“Technology and innovation are critical to economic development, and I look forward to working with Sir Michael to support Huawei’s contribution to the UK.”

Sir Michael, who is also senior business adviser at the Chatham House and chairman of the Advisory Council for Better Business. will serve alongside fellow non-executive directors on the Huawei UK board, Lord Browne of Madingley, Sir Kenneth Olisa and Sir Andrew Cahn.

The Huawei UK board underlines Huawei’s commitment to openness and transparency, the company maintained today. The independent non-executive directors are responsible for reviewing the performance of Huawei in the UK, providing counsel to the Huawei management team regarding the company’s operations in the UK and carrying out the statutory obligations of directors of a UK limited liability company.

Victor Zhang, Huawei vice-president said: “Sir Michael brings a wealth of relevant experience to our boardroom and I look forward to working with him as we enter the next phase of our partnership with Britain. 

“We’re working round the clock to keep the UK connected through the current crisis and bring affordable, reliable 5G to every corner of the country – so millions more can benefit from fast digital connections. 
“I am delighted Sir Michael has agreed to join the board and help us continue this important journey.”

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