Former BT Chairman Sir Mike Rake joins Huawei UK board

(Image credit: Future)

Huawei has strengthened its relationship with Sir Mike Rake, appointing the former BT chairman to the board of its UK business.

Sir Mike spent a decade at BT from 2007, a period during which BT expanded its superfast broadband network, purchased EE for £12.5 billion, and separated Openreach into an independent company.

Huawei’s landmark partnership with BT was struck in 2005, two years before his tenure began. The two parties renewed their relationship at the start of last year when the Chinese networking giant appointed Sir Mike as an adviser, helping to fend off political pressure.

BT Huawei

There have been calls for Huawei to be excluded from the UK’s telecommunications infrastructure over unproven national security concerns. The government has confirmed Huawei will be able to participate in operators' 5G rollout, but the use of its kit will be capped.

Sir Mike has suggested any ban would be a considerable blow to the UK’s broadband ambitions.

Huawei hopes Sir Mike’s experience in telecoms and the wider business world will provide a boost to its UK operations amid ongoing tensions. He has previously held positions at Barclays, KPMG and, most recently, Worldpay.

Huawei’s UK board provides guidance to Huawei’s management, helps its transparency drive in the UK, and performs the s the statutory obligations of directors of a UK limited liability company.

“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 Victor Zhang, Huawei Vice President. “I am delighted Sir Michael has agreed to join the board and help us continue this important journey.”

“The importance of good communication infrastructure has never been more vital, as the Covid-19 crisis emphasises every day,” added sir Mike. “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.”

Steve McCaskill is TechRadar Pro's resident mobile industry expert, covering all aspects of the UK and global news, from operators to service providers and everything in between. He is a former editor of Silicon UK and journalist with over a decade's experience in the technology industry, writing about technology, in particular, telecoms, mobile and sports tech, sports, video games and media.