Sir Michael Rake

Huawei appoints ex-BT chairman to UK board

Sir Michael had been advising Huawei since 2019

Last updated:

Huawei has appointed Sir Michael Rake to their UK board as a non-executive director. Sir Michael Rake is well known for serving as the chairman of BT for over a decade, as well as heading the Confederation of British Industry. 

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.

The ex-BT man has been an advisor to Huawei since the start of 2019 and noted the coronavirus pandemic as being influential in his decision to take the step to become a Huawei board member.

“The importance of good communication infrastructure has never been more vital, as the COVID-19 crisis emphasises every day,” he said. “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.”  

Having worked closely with Huawei during his time at BT, Sir Michael has long been a vocal defender of the Chinese vendor.

In January, the UK government ruled that Huawei would be allowed to provide equipment for non-core parts of the nation’s 5G networks, but also placed a cap on the company’s market share. While the decision was largely praised by telcos, the US was outraged and have continued to pile on the pressure to increase sanctions against Huawei on security grounds.  

These claims were echoed by a cadre of rebellious Conservative politicians, who sought a parliamentary vote back in March to gradually phase out Huawei entirely from UK networks. Ultimately, however, the move lacked support, losing to the government majority by 24 votes. 

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.

Huawei are hopeful that Sir Michael’s varied experience will prove invaluable in the coming months and that his continued presence will further strengthen their position in the UK. 

“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,” said Huawei VP, Victor Zhang. 

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