Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou promoted months after US extradition deal

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Ren had long said that his children would not succeed him at Huawei. Meng, who spent most of her career at Huawei in the finance department, was widely seen as lacking the engineering expertise that would allow Huawei employees to accept her as their boss. But his long house arrest in Canada has increased his popularity within the company and throughout China.

Meng came into the international spotlight in December 2018, when she was detained in Canada at the request of US authorities. His detention sparked a global stalemate after China imprisoned two Canadian nationals on vague charges, in what Western officials called an example of “hostage diplomacy”. Meng remained under house arrest in Vancouver for nearly three years, fighting extradition to the United States.

She returned to China in September after reaching a settlement with the US Department of Justice in which she admitted helping to cover up the company’s direct dealings in Iran, which violated US sanctions. While Meng admitted to unlawful conduct, she did not have to plead guilty under a deferred prosecution agreement.

Huawei, which made $100 billion in revenue last year, is the world’s largest telecommunications equipment supplier by sales. The company’s global push has raised concerns for Washington because of its close ties to Beijing and the importance of the telecommunications sector to national security investigations and government surveillance.

Meng will retain her position as chief financial officer. She replaces Guo Ping, who joined Huawei shortly after its founding and helped organize the company’s defense for its first major confrontation with the West, a Cisco Systems intellectual property lawsuit in 2003. The other two rotating presidents, Ken Hu and Eric Xu, remain in place.

Huawei spokeswoman Evita Cao said in a statement Saturday that Guo is now chairman of the company’s supervisory board, which oversees top executives on behalf of shareholders. Cao said 131,507 Huawei employees held shares in the company, which is not listed on the stock exchange.

Ren has not announced when he will retire, or what the longer-term succession plan will be. There has long been speculation that Ren ultimately hopes to install Meng as his successor.

Cao said Saturday that Huawei’s succession plan relies on collective leadership. “We can only ensure our survival and development by using collective wisdom,” she said.

Meng made his first public appearance since returning to China at an annual press conference on Monday.

“Over the past four years, there have been tremendous changes in the world and in China,” she said. “For a few months since I came back, I have been trying to catch up. Hopefully I’ll catch up.”

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