Light Reading

Matt Bross Joins Huawei as CTO

Ray Le Maistre

Matt Bross, the charismatic former chief technology officer of BT Group plc (NYSE: BT; London: BTA), has joined Chinese vendor Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd. as global CTO, effective October 1. (See Matt Bross Joins Huawei.)

Bross left the U.K. incumbent a few months ago and moved back to the U.S. During his seven years at BT, Bross had plenty of opportunity to get to know Huawei well, as the Chinese company was one of the main vendor partners chosen by Bross and his team for BT's 21CN next-generation network program. (See Bross Quits as BT's CTO and BT Unveils 21CN Suppliers.)

Huawei says Bross will "focus on identifying global telecommunications industry and network architecture trends" that will guide the vendor's R&D efforts. And, importantly, he will "also support the company’s efforts in delivering the latest products and solutions for North American customers."

That's a critical part of Huawei's expansion strategy, for, despite ongoing and determined efforts, it has yet to break into the major carrier accounts in the U.S. with its broad range of access, IP, mobile, and optical platforms. (See Huawei Takes On US Set-Top Market, Huawei Steps Up in North America, Cox, Huawei Make Wireless Connection , Huawei Gains Optical Ground in North America, and Huawei Names Cable CTO.)

The news took industry watchers by surprise. "Bloody hell! That's an interesting appointment," said Heavy Reading chief analyst Graham Finnie.

"He can certainly help Huawei in North America, where they haven't made many inroads yet. And he's a high-profile figure who can help Huawei present themselves as not just another Chinese company. He might also be able to help them make their move into professional services, which is something all the major vendors are trying to do." (See Huawei Plays Managed Service Catchup and Huawei: Everyone Believes in Us.)

Certainly Huawei is keen to capitalize on its new CTO's stature. "Matt Bross is a communications technology visionary with a wealth of industry experience," stated Huawei executive vice president Ken Hu in a prepared statement. "He is also a business leader with a strong spirit of innovation and will help Huawei better understand customer requirements."

Bross is equally magnanimous about his new employer: "I am honored to join a dynamic company such as Huawei. The company’s solutions, developed through customer-centric innovation, have won wide recognition among the world’s top operators. I look forward to working closely with Huawei’s technology and management teams in developing a world-leading solutions portfolio that fully meet [sic] customer requirements."

Details of Bross's contract are not available, as Huawei is still a private company. The company tells Light Reading that Bross will report "directly to the CEO as part of the senior management team."

Huawei is already one of the largest telecom equipment companies in the world, and is on course to strike deals worth $30 billion this year. (See BBWF: Huawei's Big Year and Huawei Closes In on Rivals.)

— Ray Le Maistre, International News Editor, Light Reading

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User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:55:24 PM
re: Matt Bross Joins Huawei as CTO


Something tells me this is an extreme example of another overseas company setting up a shell to look like they are fully engaged here.  

I wonder if Bross will have any real power?  Knowing Huawei, I suspect this is a figurehead job only with a really big fat paycheck attached.

Bross gets one last rake of the table as he winds down his career and Huawei gets a western face.  But really now, do we actually believe he will be a real CTO and have actual decision making power and be able to direct the future of Huawei??? Give me a break.  Clearly the PRIMARY reason is to help penetrate NA markets and the CTO title is peripheral.  Huawei simply wanted his rolodex and probably also his insider knowledge of the bidding prices and technics from Huawei's competition. 

After all, have we heard any glowing reports about how great he did in the UK with his "vision"??  Seems to me there have been lots of problems and restarts and changes of course in the "remaking of BT".

Believing he will have any real power over decisions is more insane than the old days of Alcatel Dallas actually believing they had control over some of Alcatel France's decisions.

It is however a brilliant marketing move. 

I think appointing Bross as "CTO" is insufficient.  To really penetrate the NA market, you need NA employees at all levels of the organization.  Not a rotating crew of Chinese nationals that come here and spend a few years of their career in Huawei USA.  A "gring" figurehead is not the answer.  The answer is the same thing that Fuji figured out: you need "gringo's" (by this I mean people born in USA and steeped in USA culture and behavior styles.. could be asian, or black or white or what ever.... do not mean to imply only white) at all levels of the NA organization to sell to, support, do marketing, work with, etc. the customer base.  So far, every move I have seen by Huawei misses this fundamental point.  LOCAL people doing the jobs, not remotely done in China.  And true empowerment of the local team over how the NA markets are sold and supported.   Not remote control from Shenzhen.

Let us look in the next Huawei booths for trade shows in NA and Europe and see how many local employees are working the booth.  When the faces are all western, for western shows.. then maybe Huawei will have learned the lesson.

In the same way, a western company almost absolutely must have Chinese faces working for them in China and Japanese faces selling and supporting Japanese customers.  Huawei has tried for years to buck this.

In my mind this is simply an "image" game and both sides, Bross and Huawei, get something.  But does it really help the NA customers??



User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:55:23 PM
re: Matt Bross Joins Huawei as CTO

But does it really help the NA customers??

Sure, it's a great help to the customers.  It tells them that they will be dealing with a company that thinks it's a good idea to have a CTO who takes options in your startup.

Think of it as telling your customers that your CTO takes a personal interest in his suppliers.

User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:55:22 PM
re: Matt Bross Joins Huawei as CTO
I think most of us don't understand the magnitude and scope of the economic WAR being waged upon us by the Chinese in general, and Huawei in particular.

With virtually unlimited financial backing from the Chinese Government, Huawei can basically pay-to-play at any table. The China Development Bank just extended a USD30 BILLION line of credit to Huawei - a Bank managed directly by the CPC, i.e. the Chinese Central Government.

Contrast that with the rest of us "mere mortal" vendors working for supposedly enlightened Western nations, whose' Governments couldn't care less and are much more interested in resuscitating the auto industryGǪ.

At least the Indians seem to have caught on - slapping a 236% anti-dumping duty on Huawei -

How long before we wise-up and slaps these buggers with trade tariffs?
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:55:21 PM
re: Matt Bross Joins Huawei as CTO

Interesting to see Matt finally join the system vendor community in an overt way.

Of course I'm referring to his past stints working for Sycamore and ONI while at Williams Communications; taking enourmous bribes in the form of stock options to get these two vendors products "qualified" and selected by Williams, thus inflating their valuation prior to IPO, thus making Matt millions of $.  The word "qualified" is obviously in parentheses; as any industry insider who understands where Sycamore and ONI products are today, it is clear that these companies products were sub-par, and were only selected for Matt's personal gain.

So now he works for Huawei.  Hoepfully he won't be bringing the product plans of all of Huawei's competitors that he was deeply exposed to while at BT with him.  Hopefully.....

Somehow the vision of Matt walking around with a Huawei business card just seems sort of normal.  Just like every sci-fi movie has a "bad guy" who betrays his own side, here comes Matt from Oklahoma, touting wares from Beijing. 

User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:55:20 PM
re: Matt Bross Joins Huawei as CTO
So, Litewave you need to get into on-line gaming. It floats the Chinese currency and can be used for an economic attack on China.

User Rank: Light Sabre
12/5/2012 | 3:55:19 PM
re: Matt Bross Joins Huawei as CTO

Didn't they pick up Mick Reeve too?  Anyone else?

User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:55:17 PM
re: Matt Bross Joins Huawei as CTO

Firstly, not all vendors and/or their products could be slapped with 236% extra import tax. "The recommended anti-dumping duty ranges between 29 % and 236 % of cost-insurance-freight (CIF) value of imports. " And secondly, as implied in the article, mobile providers will face certain dificulties if forced to replace their vendors. IMNSHO, it is the worst possible action that a goverment can make (similar to our domestic tire-taxing). If we can not build better equipment, better solutions but start whining about financial disadvantages, lack of federal crutches and inequality compensation/standard of living - shame on us.

User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:55:11 PM
re: Matt Bross Joins Huawei as CTO

Matt was the principle at BT to get whoreway approved and in essence destroy the national incumbent Marconi and the loss of many thousands of jobs.

It is a sad day to see folks like him being rewarded.



User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:55:02 PM
re: Matt Bross Joins Huawei as CTO

Does anyone know if Huawei had a CTO and if so what happend to him/her?

User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 3:54:48 PM
re: Matt Bross Joins Huawei as CTO

You never know, if they have a CTO they may even get a product strategy that doesn't change before the end of an ITT.

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