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Office of the Secretary-General

​​​​​​​​​​Houlin Zhao: ITU Secretary-General


ITU Member States re-elected Houlin Zhao as ITU Secretary-General on 1 November 2018. He began his second ​four-year term on 1 January 2019.

Mr Zhao is​ an information and communication technology (ICT) engineer who has served in a variety of senior management positions at ITU.​

Prior to first being elected as ITU Secretary-General in 2014, Zhao served eight years as ITU Deputy Secretary-General, supporting the work of the Secretary-General, principally in terms of day-to-day management, including human resources, financial administration, improving efficiency, and working to help broaden ITU's membership, particularly in terms of academic institutions. He also served two elected terms as Director of ITU's Telecommunication Standardization Bureau (TSB), which develops technical standards to ensure worldwide ICT interoperability. Before that, he was a Senior Counsellor with TSB for 12 years. 

Born in 1950 in Jiangsu, China, Mr Zhao graduated from Nanjing University of Posts and Telecommunications, and holds an MSc in Telematics from the University of Essex in the United Kingdom.​ 

Latest News


Speeches by the Secretary-General are posted in the language delivered.
  • ITU Council 2019: Closing ceremony

    ​​20 June 2019: I was very pleased to see the high level of interest among Members States during this session of Council in engaging SMEs in our work. Building on the decision of PP-18 to establish a new reduced fee option for SMEs, Council 2019 finalized eligibility criteria and gave us the green light to launch this option in January 2020...

  • ITU Council 2019: State of the Union Address

    ​​10 June 2019: Welcome to the 2019 Session of ITU Council. This is our first Council since the conclusion of our 2018 Plenipotentiary Conference. PP-18 gave us a new ITU Council. Please join me in welcoming our councilors, including our new Council Members from the Bahamas, the Czech Republic, Côte d'Ivoire, El Salvador, Hungary, the Islamic Republic of Iran, and South Africa.​..

  • Our sincere condolences
    ​It is with great sadness that ITU announces that two ITU staff members, Ms Maygenet Abebe and Mr Marcelino Tayob, were on board the Ethiopian Airlines flight that was lost on 10 March 2019.  We mourn their loss and the loss of the lives of United Nations staff members and everyone onboard that flight bound for Nairobi. ITU commends the quick response of the Government of Ethiopia and volunteers who have been working tirelessly to assist those in need. 

    Houlin Zhao, ITU Secretary-General