James Zhao is the new CEO of Huawei Australia. Outgoing CEO, Guo Fulin, has been promoted to a regional role within Huawei.
The appointment of Zhao follows Huawei’s global practice of rotating senior executives through different markets to help them gain a breadth of management experience, and comes with the approval of the local Board of Directors.
“It is a great privilege to take on the CEO role in Australia, a market of great strategic focus for Huawei Technologies,” Zhao said. “Huawei Australia has been a trailblazer for Huawei globally as the first country with a local Board of Directors, and I look forward to working with the local Board as we continue to grow our presence in the Australian market.”
Zhao first joined Huawei in 2000 as a radio engineer, later working as a sales manager in China.
In 2004, he was appointed managing director and chief operating officer of Huawei Indonesia, overseeing sales growth from $US30m to $US1.5bn between 2004-2011. Most recently, Zhao was the global account director for Bharti Airtel in 2011, a role which spanned 20 countries in India and Africa.
“Huawei’s corporate structure is a great example of ‘Western governance with Chinese characteristics’, and one of Huawei’s great strengths is the practice of rotating CEOs on fixed terms,” Huawei Australia chairman, John Lord, said.
“This allows for innovative ideas to flourish and brings fresh global experience to each local office. The local board also would like to pass on our best wishes to outgoing CEO Guo Fulin, who has seen Huawei Australia more than triple in size during his tenure.”
When Guo first arrived in Australia in 2009, Huawei had less than 200 staff and revenues of $132 million. Today, Huawei Australia has more than 700 staff – 85 per cent of whom are locals – and in 2012 saw revenues grow to $368 million.
The company now works with all of Australia’s major operators and claims 50 per cent of Australians are using a Huawei product for some part of their daily telecommunications needs.