ITU taps China's Houlin Zhao as its new secretary-general

The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) is set to begin a new chapter after naming China's Houlin Zhao as its next secretary-general during the ITU's 19th Plenipotentiary Conference in Busan, in the Republic of Korea.

Set to take office on Jan. 1, Zhao will serve for a four-year term, with the possibility of re-election for one additional four-year term.

Zhao, a telecom engineer, currently serves as the ITU's deputy-secretary-general (DSG), a post he has held since January 2007. Before taking on the deputy role, Zhao served two elected terms as director of ITU's Telecommunication Standardization Bureau (TSB). Earlier, he spent 12 years a senior counsellor with TSB and its former incarnation, CCITT.

Zhao said in an interview with the ITU that his first order of business will be to "convene the new management team," which includes five elected officials, including three new and two re-elected officials. 

"We need to establish a good working relationship between the five of us for the coming four years, and more importantly, we need to establish a common vision and a common action plan to lead the Union, based on the strategic and financial plans approved by PP-14," Zhao said.

In addition to naming Zhao as Secretary-General, the ITU began elections for the deputy secretary-general, with five candidates from Canada, Mauritania, Nigeria, Poland and the United Kingdom contesting the position.

After naming the winning candidate for the deputy secretary-general position, the ITU will begin elections for the posts of director of ITU's Radiocommunication Bureau, Telecommunication Standardization Bureau and Telecommunication Development Bureau.

Finally, these elections will be followed by elections for the Radio Regulations Board (20 candidates for 12 seats) and ITU Council, the governing body which oversees the running of the Union between quadrennial Plenipotentiary Conferences (60 candidate countries for 48 seats).

For more:
- see the release
- see this interview

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