Heroic dissident duo or bureaucrats leaving the sinking shipments of Huawei?
Two board members of Huawei’s UK subsidiary are set to resign over the Chinese telecoms giant’s refusal to condemn Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, according to Sky News. Sir Andrew Cahn and Sir Ken Olisa told the company today that they intend to step down from their positions as non-executive directors. According to Sky’s unnamed ‘sources’ the dissident duo asked Huawei to condemn Putin’s actions through a public statement but their communications were not responded to.
Hundreds of companies have withdrawn from Russia, but Huawei has remained silent, said City AM’s correspondent. In September, Huawei chairman spoke of the company’s ambitions to lead the world into the sixth generation of mobile telecoms. Now it plans to quit the UK anyway, following the UK government’s ban on Huawei’s technology and decree that its technology be stripped out. Olisa has form for upholding principles. He resigned from the Institute of Directors in 2018 in a dispute over good governance, reports City AM. As the first black lord-lieutenant of Greater London, Olisa quit after its chair, Barbara Judge, was accused of sexism and racism.
How good is UK governance?
Olisa’s resignation letter registered despair at the lack of ‘good governance’ in Britain’s business institutions. “We have found ourselves in a surreal world of flawed processes, flagrant disregard for the principles of natural justice and a roughshod journey over the laws of the Institute,” said Olisa. “Senior leaders covertly recording private conversations, systemically disregarding due process and leaking confidential material to the press have combined to make the Institute of Directors a laughing stock.”
Civil servant has Cahn do attitude
Civil servant Cahn has spent most of his career in the Cabinet Office, the Foreign Office and the Ministry of Agriculture and served three tours of European Institutions in Brussels. “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,” said an Huawei statement. “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.”