Downer, Brumby join Huawei Australia board

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Downer, Brumby join Huawei Australia board
Alexander Downer.

Vendor gains local political clout in search of NBN contracts.


Huawei Australia has appointed former Victorian Premier John Brumby and Howard-era foreign minister Alexander Downer to its local board, the latest in a number of recent attempts to ramp up local business.

Downer and Brumby will join board chairman John Lord, Australian chief executive Guo Fulin, South Pacific president Jeff Liu and global board members Chen Lifang and Li Jie.

Lord, a retired Rear Admiral and former Australian maritime commander, also currently acts as chairman for private contractor Defence Maritime Services.

The board will meet for the first time next month, with meetings scheduled both locally and at the vendor’s Shenzhen, China headquarters.

Huawei Australia spokesperson Luke Coleman told iTnews the appointments came after a six-month search for local representatives to the company and marked the transition from business-to-business to a clearer focus on government contracts.

“We’ve now grown to a point where as a company we’ve got to reach out to new stakeholders, government being one of them, and who better to do that than Alexander Downer and John Brumby,” Coleman said.

The vendor has also battled it out with Ericsson for a number of Long Term Evolution mobile broadband contracts, finding success with likes of Vodafone Hutchison Australia (VHA) and vividwireless for their respective rollouts.
It may also sign with Optus in the near future, but hopes of gaining contracts with government wholesaler NBN Co were shortened last week after a $1.1 billion ten-year contract was won by Ericsson.

Huawei still hopes to gain some of the remaining fibre optic contracts under the $36 billion rollout.

“Will [the board] help with the NBN? Maybe, but it’s not the reason the board is being created,” Coleman said.

Huawei’s LTE contract with VHA, signed in February, signalled the beginning of a fast expansion for the company locally, establishing offices in Adelaide and adding at least 300 staff over the course of the rollout.

The company said it expects to double its local headcount to 600 by the end of the year, with 80 percent of local staff now locals.


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