Following the shock resignation of Mark Mitchinson from the role of Huawei UK senior vice president in September 2014, and the role change of the UK and Ireland CEO Victor Zhang, Gordon Luo was appointed as Huawei UK and Ireland CEO in the same year.
Achieving several high-profile business feats, such as sitting on the Mayor of London’s Smart London Board, being a speaker at the CBI’s annual Chinese New Year dinner and overseeing Huawei’s win at the British Business Awards, Gordon Luo has increased senior figure engagement with the Huawei executive team.
Gordon Luo’s strategy of heavy research and development investment has seen a number of the UK’s leading research institutions partner with the brand, such as the Imperial College-Huawei Data Science Innovation Lab, the University of Surrey’s 5G Innovation Centre, and Huawei Innovation Research Program funding to the University of Cambridge and University of Southampton.
In his previous role as Huawei Nordics CEO, Luo undertook a similar strategy of increasing local partners and working with universities, telling Scandasia in 2011: ‘Going forward, we will strengthen our ties to businesses and consumers to become a leading provider of IT as well as telecom, and establish ourselves as one of the three major brands of smartphones.’ And it paid off – Huawei Nordics achieved 57% sales growth in the same year.
Taking up the reins of the role, Luo also took up the challenge of establishing the brand beyond engineers, operators and technicians and into the realms of consumer consciousness.
With a narrow route to market in the UK, a government investigation under way over security concerns, and Samsung growing market share rapidly, Luo worked quickly in overcoming these challenges, leveraging its reputation as a key UK infrastructure stakeholder to build network and retail partnerships. By the launch of the Huawei P9 flagship in June, the company had a firm foothold in every UK mobile retailer and a new field marketing team, with many staff poached from its rivals at Samsung. However, with market share still struggling to make gains, perhaps the consumer breakthrough is yet to come.
A quick Google search reveals scant information from the UK and Ireland Huawei CEO outside of quotes disseminated through press releases. No speeches, no interviews, no biography. This low press profile combined with frequent corporate and government event attendance suggests an ‘iceberg’ approach, which extends to the high-profile board members, (Sir Andrew Cahn, Lord Browne, Dame Helen Alexander) who were all appointed early during his leadership.
After Brexit, Gordon Luo made the bold move of reaffirming his predecessor’s 2012 pledge to spend £1.3 billion by the end of 2017. Coupled with Huawei Electronic’s £48.2 billion of global annual revenue and £481.5 million global 5G investment by 2018, the Chinese company is one of the few tech businesses in the world with the financial muscle to challenge the UK’s stiff, brand-sensitive device market.
Howard Watson, CEO, BT Technology, Service & Operations,
The former BT CIO will oversee its 5G-research collaboration with Nokia, which was announced in August
Grant Shapps MP, British Infrastructure Group leader
The ex-Conservative Party Chairman is pushing for the Digital Economy Bill to be completed before the government-operator agreed 2017 infrastructure investment deadline.