Huawei appoints US defence strategist as chief security officer

Huawei has hired former defence contractor Donald “Andy” Purdy to serve as its chief security officer, the Washington Post has reported.

The appointment comes as the company battles fears it’s working in cahoots with Chinese intelligence agencies to spy on the US.

The fact that its founder and president, Ren Zhengfei, was a member of the People’s Liberation Army certainly does not soften perceptions that China is using Huawei for espionage purposes. Congress is currently investigating links between the company and the Chinese government.

The hiring of Purdy, who previously served as business technology company CSC’s chief cybersecurity strategist and once worked for the Department of Homeland Security, has been perceived as an effort on the part of the Shenzhen-based company to paint itself as a credible, trustworthy entity.

Huawei has been on image control mode recently, reportedly hiring Washington, DC lobbyists, consultants, and PR firms. Though it currently holds the world’s number two spot in telecomm equipment sales, the company fears hostile relationships with governments around the world could lead it to be edged out of those markets.

“As a global information and communications technology company, Huawei takes security issues seriously. We look forward to benefitting from Andy’s expertise in cyber-related matters,” Huawei USA’s vice-president of external affairs William Plummer told the Washington Post.