The International Telecommunication Union’s 19th Plenipotentiary Conference yesterday, in Busan, Korea, roundly endorsed Houlin Zhao of China as the next Secretary-General of the top UN agency for ICTs.
He is expected to assume office on January 1, 2015 for a term of four years, with the possibility of re-election for one additional four-year term and succeeds Dr Hamadoun Toure.
The Secretary-General-elect’s profile as obtained from ITU shows the chequered career of the next number one man of the UN specialized agency below:
Born in 1950 in Jiangsu, China, Mr Zhao graduated from Nanjing University of Posts and Telecommunications, and holds an MSc in Telematics from the University of Essex in the UK.
From 2007 to 2014, he served as ITU Deputy Secretary-General, supporting the work of the Secretary-General, principally in terms of day-to-day management, including human resources, financial administration, improving efficiency, and working to help broaden ITU’s membership, particularly in terms of academic institutions.
From 1999 to 2006, he served as Director of ITU’s Telecommunication Standardization Bureau (TSB). During his term of office he spearheaded the introduction of new efficiency measures to improve ITU’s standards-making environment and strengthen its promotion.
He also enhanced the strategic partnership between Member States and Sector Members, while initiating and maintaining good relationships with industry members. Under his leadership, ITU enhanced its level of international cooperation with other standards development organizations, and was instrumental in helping bridge the standardization gap between developing and developed countries.
From 1986 to 1992, Mr Zhao was a senior staff member in the then CCITT, and from 1993-1998 in TSB. Among his responsibilities as Counsellor for ITU-T Study Groups, he was Coordinator for cooperation with other international technical bodies, including ISO and IEC.
Prior to joining ITU, Mr Zhao served as an engineer in the Designing Institute of the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications of China, taking an active role in his country’s expert meetings on telecommunication standards and national plans, as well as participating in ITU’s technical Study Group meetings as a Chinese delegate. He contributed important articles to a number of prestigious Chinese technical publications, and in 1985 was awarded a prize for his achievements in science and technology within the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications.
Mr Zhao is married with one son and two grandchildren, and is fluent in three official ITU languages: English, French and Chinese.