Sir Michael had been advising Huawei since 2019 and has been vocal about the company’s crucial role in UK infrastructure
Huawei Technologies UK have today announced the appointment of Sir Michael Rake to their 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.
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, most recently publishing an open letter to the government imploring them not to increase restrictions against the company.
“Any attempt to further restrict Huawei 5G equipment, or to remove existing 4G equipment will not only incur very significant costs, but prejudice trade relationships with China and will significantly set back the government’s broadband ambitions. This in turn will further damage our competitiveness as an economy, at what is a critical moment,” read the letter.
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.
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.
Want to better understand the UK’s 5G ecosystem? Visit the country’s leading connectivity event, Connected Britain 2020
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