SHENZHEN, CHINA: Joe Kelly, global VP of corporate communications for Chinese technology giant Huawei, has reportedly died at age 55.
The Donegal, Ireland, native spent the last eight years working at the company's headquarters in Shenzhen, China, where he lived with his wife and two sons, according to Irish media reports.
"Vice president of international media affairs at Huawei, Joe was an experienced member of the team who was hugely respected across the company," said a Huawei colleague, via email. "He will be greatly missed, and we send our deepest condolences to Joe’s family, whom we will do all we can to help through this very difficult time.”
In recent years, Kelly was criticized for leading Huawei's response to claims by the U.S. government that the company’s technology could be used for spying on behalf of China. With a specialty in crisis management, Kelly thrived amid controversial stories.
"Nobody wants to be in the middle of a non-story," he told The Irish Times in a 2019 interview. "I don’t remember a time when I was happier."
Prior to Huawei, Kelly worked in communications roles for BT, Marconi and Xerox.
A former journalist, Kelly graduated with a media studies degree from the University of Ulster and worked in London at business and technology publications before moving to corporate communications.
Funeral details have not been finalized yet.
In addition to his wife and sons, Kelly is survived by his twin brother, two sisters and two younger brothers.
This story was updated on November 3 with additional information.