30 November 2000 | Cathy Hayward
The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) has appointed an e-business champion to encourage the development of e-commerce in Britain.
John Stewart, deputy group chief executive of Barclays Bank, will head a 30-member council to lobby the UK and European parliaments and encourage businesses to embrace e-commerce.
"Dotcoms and old economy companies can cut operating costs dramatically with e-commerce, but some still have to work out how to adapt," said Stewart. "The council will show business and government what can be done to harness the benefits of new economy thinking."
Some industry figures welcomed the move. "There isn't much independent advice out there. Most consultants and software firms have their own agendas," said Kevin Barry, senior category manager, e-commerce, in the group purchasing department at building services firm Caradon. "This will help businesses to get through the e-commerce minefield."
But critics accuse the CBI of lagging behind industry. "Most major businesses already have dedicated e-commerce managers and even the government has an e-commerce champion," said David Prentice, director of IT support firm Prentice Dolan Computer Services.
The new council, the CBI's first for eight years, will hold conferences and workshops, carry out surveys and produce publications, as well as helping to shape national policy.