Before joining Huawei, Suffolk's last job was CIO of the U.K. government. Prior to that, he has also been an advisor to the World Bank High-Level Experts group, director general of the UK criminal justice transformation program, and managing director of financial services firm Britannia Building Society.
Now he will report to Huawei CEO Ren Zhengfei and spearhead the vendor's new cyber security assurance strategy, which will be implemented across all of the vendor's departments, including research and development, supply chain, marketing and sales, project delivery and technical services.
Suffolk, whose office will be located at Huawei's headquarters in Shenzhen, China, will also be responsible for communicating the new strategy to customers, partners, employees and other stakeholders.
The appointment follows the opening of Huawei's Cyber Security Evaluation Center in the U.K. at the end of last year. The facility is designed to test Huawei's own equipment and show operators and government officials how it can withstand cyber security threats. (See Huawei Opens UK Security Evaluation Center.)
Why this matters
Huawei is on a mission to allay security fears that some governments still have about the company -- the latest example of such concerns cropped up in Taiwan just last month. (See More Security Woes for Huawei.)
The Chinese vendor wants to change its image from security threat to cyber security expert and even services provider. To that end, it has taken unprecedented steps to be more open and transparent. Hiring a high-profile IT exec such as John Suffolk is the company's latest move in this security assurance offensive.
There are those that will see the irony in Huawei's cyber security push as the company has a colorful and controversial history on this front.
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- US Gets Worried About Huawei
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- Huawei Addresses Security Fears
- No Respite for Chinese Vendors
— Michelle Donegan, European Editor, Light Reading Mobile