Outgoing Oftel chief Don Cruickshank has been appointed head of the government's Action 2000 taskforce. Cruickshank started the job last week. He was the first choice candidate for Barbara Roche, Minister for Industry. "There is a considerable responsibility on him to make Action 2000 a success," she said. "His role to help businesses overcome the century date change problem presents him with a tremendous challenge." As chairman, Cruickshank will only devote one day a week to his Action 2000 duties. His immediate task will be to appoint a full-time director and a project team. He did not rule out Robin Guenier, executive director of Taskforce 2000, for the director role. "It beggars belief how chief executives are not properly equipped (in understanding or taking action on the millennium problem)," commented Cruickshank on his appointment. "It would take less than an hour on the Internet to get hold of all the starter kit you need to help you comply." Action 2000 was established last month by the President of the Board of Trade, Margaret Beckett, to turn awareness of the millennium bomb into action. It will focus on dispensing good business practice advice, tackle skills shortage and provide access to Year 2000 compliancy tools. However, one leading year 2000 consultancy said it was laughable that the new chairman was only devoting one day a week to the task which is so time-critical given that Guenier and other personalities spend most of their time raising awareness among chief executives. Cruickshank's contract as director general of telecoms watchdog Oftel expires next March.
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