What makes him powerful: As CTO of Huawei, Matt Bross is not only heading up the Chinese vendor's technology innovation but he's also charged with helping Huawei break into the U.S. market. The U.S. telecom market is a huge focus for Huawei and central to the company's growth strategy. Although Huawei is the second-largest telecommunications infrastructure vender (after Ericsson (NASDAQ:ERIC)), the company has had difficulty securing deals with major U.S. operators. So far, Huawei has landed network contracts with Cox Communications for its CDMA network and Clearwire (NASDAQ:CLWR) for its WiMAX play.
Bross, who previously was the CTO of BT Group, joined Huawei in September 2009 and has recently been making the rounds, speaking at a number of industry conferences including 4G World in Chicago and Broadband World Forum in Paris, and trying to gain more visibility for the organization.
But breaking into the U.S. market is not an easy task. The company, which was reportedly being considered by Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S) for an infrastructure deal, has been trying to address concerns raised by a group of Republican senators that claim a potential deal between Sprint and Huawei would compromise national security. The senators are concerned about possible ties between the firm and the Iranian government and the Chinese military. Huawei strongly denies these claims.
To address these concerns Huawei in early September unveiled a security plan, which includes establishing a national security committee headed by Bross. The company also invested more than $62 million in research and development in the U.S. last year alone.
But so far those efforts have not paid off. In fact, late last week the Wall Street Journal reported that Sprint Nextel had decided to block both Huawei and ZTE from getting its multi-billion-dollar network modernization project because of mounting national security concerns about the Chinese vendors.
Bross certainly has a big job ahead of him. The pressure is mounting as U.S. operators quickly move ahead with 4G network deployment plans and Huawei's window of opportunity (at least in terms of 4G deals) is beginning to close. --Sue