Archived Newsroom • Press Release
ITU Plenipotentiary Conference elects Houlin Zhao as next Secretary-General
ICT engineer turned career diplomat endorsed as ‘safe pair of hands’ to
steer ITU through its next four years
Busan, 23 October 2014 – ITU’s 19th Plenipotentiary
Conference roundly endorsed Houlin Zhao of China as its next Secretary-General.
Zhao will take office on 1 January 2015 for a term of four years, with the
possibility of re-election for one additional four-year term.
The election took place in Busan, Republic of Korea, during the Plenary
session of the PP-14 conference this morning. Zhao won the position with 152
votes, from 156 ballot papers deposited. He contested the position unopposed.
Full election results are available
Addressing the conference after the vote, Zhao told some 2,000 conference
participants from around the world that he would do his best to “fulfil ITU's
mission, and, through our close cooperation, ensure ITU delivers services to the
global telecommunication and information society at the highest level of
Zhao is a respected telecoms engineer with over 30 years’ experience in the
international environment. He currently serves as ITU Deputy-Secretary-General
(DSG), a post he has held since January 2007 after being elected by ITU’s 2006
Plenipotentiary Conference in Antalya, Turkey. He was re-elected for a second
four-year term at ITU’s 2010 Plenipotentiary Conference in Guadalajara, Mexico.
In his two terms as DSG, Zhao has charted a steady course for the
organization, pioneering new initiatives to expand ITU membership to the global
academic community, and proactively implementing efficiency improvements in
human resources management and financial administration. He is well-known and
well-regarded by the global ICT community, both for his technical expertise and
his commitment to digital inclusion for all.
Prior to his role as Deputy, Zhao served two elected terms as Director of
ITU’s Telecommunication Standardization Bureau (TSB), the part of ITU most
concerned with developing global technical standards to ensure worldwide
interoperability of information and communication equipment and software. Before
that, he was for 12 years a Senior Counsellor with TSB, and its former
Update on other elections
During the same morning Plenary session, elections began for the post of
Deputy Secretary-General, with five candidates contesting the position from
Canada, Mauritania, Nigeria, Poland and the United Kingdom.
The elections for the posts of Director of ITU’s Radiocommunication Bureau,
Telecommunication Standardization Bureau and Telecommunication Development
Bureau will begin after the winner of the post of Deputy Secretary-General is
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).
full list of candidates and their profiles, see
As ITU elections have the possibility of extending to several rounds of
voting, the exact timing of the remaining elections is still not certain, but
they are expected to be completed by the middle of the second week of the
three-week conference. A backgrounder explaining the ITU election process is
A biography of Houlin Zhao is available
A Q&A with Houlin Zhao is available
Photos of Houlin Zhao can be downloaded
here, and photos of the election can be downloaded
Broadcast crews can download b-roll of Zhao’s election
An updated daily list of PP-14 session timings is available
The PP-14 opening press release giving attendance figures is available
PP-14 is hosted by Korea’s Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning
(MSIP), and is taking place at Busan’s BEXCO exhibition and conference centre
from 20 October - 7 November.
The Republic of Korea is widely recognized as the world’s most connected
topping ITU’s ICT Development Index for the past four consecutive years.
Follow @ITU and the hashtag #Plenipot14 for the latest updates. Go to
www.itu.int/pp14/social to access
all PP-14 social media channels.
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Read the PP-14 Special Edition of ITU’s bimonthly magazine, ITU News,
Find more information on the
Information about ITU’s previous Plenipotentiary Conference, PP-10,
can be found on the
For more information, please contact the team onsite in Korea:
Other media enquiries:
Soraya ABINO QUINTANA
Chief, Media Relations and Public Information, ITU
For Korean-speaking journalists
Korean Media Liaison, MSIP
10 8710 7393