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Industry leaders mourn death of Huawei vice-chairman Ryan Ding

Ryan Ding Huawei.jpg

Huawei vice-chairman Ding Yun – better known to the worldwide industry as Ryan Ding – died of a suspected heart attack within hours of completing the Beijing marathon on Thursday.

Ding (pictured) was vice-chairman of the company’s supervisory board, but better known to the industry as president of the carrier business group and enterprise business group.

Despite Huawei’s political troubles with the US, Canada and European countries, the carrier business group earned 44% of Huawei’s total revenue last year, equivalent to US$39.5 billion.

Huawei confirmed his death in a statement on Friday evening, issued by what the company called the Mourning Committee. The committee said he died in the early hours of Friday, “due to sudden illness”.

He was born in 1969 and held a master’s degree from Southeast University in Nanjing. He joined Huawei in 1996.

Local commentators said he ran the Beijing marathon on Thursday and then went to dinner with friends before being taken ill.

An official statement from Huawei to Capacity said: “Ding Yun worked at Huawei for 26 years and made significant contributions to the company's growth and development. He has built deep trust and friendship with customers and partners. We express our deep condolences to his passing away.”

Olaf Swantee, former CEO of Orange and EE in the UK, and of Sunrise in Switzerland, wrote on LinkedIn: “We met for the first time in early 2012 when we laid plans to transform the UK’s mobile infrastructure by launching 4G. From the beginning, he inspired me with his incredible energy, technical know-how, and project management skills.”

Simon Frumkin, CEO of Freshwave, wrote: “Very sad to hear this. When we met Ryan was as inspiring to his customers’ teams as he was to his own. Condolences to his family and all at Huawei.”

Enrique Blanco, director of systems and networks at Telefónica, wrote: “A huge professional. I received with sorrow and astonishment his death. My condolences to his family and the Huawei family. The world of telecommunications is today in mourning.”

BT’s CTO Howard Watson added: “Really sad to hear of Ryan’s premature passing. I agree that without the amazing early relationship the EE network would not be where it is today.”

Uwe Janssen, former VP of innovation and research at Deutsche Telekom, wrote: “So sad to hear – Ryan [was] my partner in the first project to introduce Huawei to Deutsche Telekom, and his sustaining support was fantastic. I enjoyed working with him over years, he has been an extraordinary personality! He will live on in my memories.”

Swantee added: “Without him, EE, Sunrise, and T-Mobile would not have been able to establish their network leadership positions in the UK, Switzerland and the Netherlands. These are just a few examples where his personal influence helped deliver the most ambitious transformations.”

Former Orange group CTO Thierry Bonhomme said: “Very sad as well to learn that Ryan passed away. Sincere condolences to his family and friends from Huawei.”