Network equipment maker 3Com announced Wednesday a new CEO who will be based in China.
Robert Mao, 64, will succeed Edgar Masri as chief executive officer. Mao, who is fluent in Mandarin and English, had most recently been 3Com’s executive vice president for corporate development. Prior to working at 3Com, he headed up Nortel Network’s China operations. And before that he had worked for the French telecommunications equipment maker Alcatel, which is now Alcatel-Lucent.
The news of the management shift comes after the U.S. government essentially put the kibosh on a proposed $2.2 billion buyout of 3Com by Bain Capital Partners and Huawei Technologies.
The Wall Street Journal elaborates on the potential security questions that might be raised:
Although it is a relatively small player in the networking market, 3Com sells antihacking and other network-security services to the Defense Department. The U.S. has been particularly sensitive about foreign ownership of communications assets, especially in light of repeated attempts to hack the nation’s defense systems. Chinese-based hackers are viewed as a major concern.
Mr. Mao, 64 years old, was 3Com’s executive vice president for corporate development from August 2006 to March 2007. Before that, he headed Nortel Networks Corp.’s China operations.