Huawei UK board members resign over silence on Ukraine invasion

Knights depart Chinese mega-corp's round table


Updated Multiple reports have surfaced claiming that two members of Huawei's UK board have resigned over the company's stance – or lack thereof – on Russia's illegal invasion of the Ukraine.

Board members Sir Andrew Cahn and Sir Ken Olisa allegedly told the company on Wednesday they are leaving their non-executive director roles.

Cahn, former CEO of UK Trade and Investment, became a non-executive director in 2015 after four years as chairman of the Huawei Technologies UK advisory board. Olisa, whose many distinguished roles include serving as Lord-Lieutenant of Greater London, became a director in 2018. Their beef allegedly is that Huawei has not publicly condemned the ongoing war – though it should be noted the Chinese company typically does not comment on political issues.

China is one of 35 countries that chose to abstain from a vote on a United Nations resolution denouncing Russia's "aggression". The resolution called for an immediate unconditional withdrawal of military forces from the Ukraine.

Huawei's relationship with and services to Russia have been questioned in the past few weeks. Australian defence minister Peter Dutton has stated he is aware of reports that Huawei "is providing support to Russia to keep their internet up and running" as it comes under attack from hacktivists and other entities.

Huawei told The Reg:

Sir Andrew Cahn and Sir Ken Olisa brought considerable experience from the world of business and technology to Huawei UK's board of directors when they were appointed in 2015 and 2018 respectively.

Both have shown strong support for Huawei's commitment to the UK and have helped uphold the highest standards of corporate governance and we thank them for their invaluable guidance.

Cahn and Olisa aren’t the only ones (allegedly) stepping away from Huawei. Polish footballer Robert Lewandowski, who plays for Bayern Munich, also terminated his three year $5.45m commercial deal with the tech giant for the same reasons. ®

Updated to add

Olisa told The Register this morning: "I can confirm that I have resigned from the Board of Huawei (UK) and that the media reports of my departure are correct. These are difficult times for all multinationals and I don't intend to exacerbate the situation by making any further comments on this matter."


Other stories you might like

  • Xi Jinping himself weighs in on how Big Tech should deploy FinTech
    Beijing also outlines its GovTech vision and gets very excited about data

    China's government has outlined its vision for digital services, expected behavior standards at China's big tech companies, and how China will put data to work everywhere – with president Xi Jinping putting his imprimatur to some of the policies.

    Xi's remarks were made in his role as director of China’s Central Comprehensively Deepening Reforms Commission, which met earlier this week. The subsequent communiqué states that at the meeting Xi called for "financial technology platform enterprises to return to their core business" and "support platform enterprises in playing a bigger role in serving the real economy and smoothing positive interplay between domestic and international economic flows."

    The remarks outline an attempt to balance Big Tech's desire to create disruptive financial products that challenge monopolies, against efforts to ensure that only licensed and regulated entities offer financial services.

    Continue reading
  • Beijing probes security at academic journal database
    It's easy to see why – the question is, why now?

    China's internet regulator has launched an investigation into the security regime protecting academic journal database China National Knowledge Infrastructure (CNKI), citing national security concerns.

    In its announcement of the investigation, the China Cyberspace Administration (CAC) said:

    Continue reading
  • Behold this drone-dropping rifle with two-mile range
    Confuses rather than destroys unmanned aerials to better bring back intel, says Ukrainian designer

    What's said to be a Ukrainian-made long-range anti-drone rifle is one of the latest weapons to emerge from Russia's ongoing invasion of its neighbor.

    The Antidron KVS G-6 is manufactured by Kvertus Technology, in the western Ukraine region of Ivano-Frankivsk, whose capital of the same name has twice been subjected to Russian bombings during the war. Like other drone-dropping equipment, we're told it uses radio signals to interrupt control, remotely disabling them, and it reportedly has an impressive 3.5 km (2.17 miles) range.

    "We are not damaging the drone. With communication lost, it just loses coordination and doesn't know where to go. The drone lands where it is jammed, or can be carried away by the wind because it's uncontrollable,"  Kvertus' director of technology Yaroslav Filimonov said. Because the downed drones are unharmed, they give Ukrainian soldiers recovering them a wealth of potential intelligence, he added.  

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022