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Jet-setting keynoting CEOs are crap

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Tales from IT executives about the perils of travel, missing aeroplanes and getting stuck in the traffic are just not interesting. The audience at the IDC European IT Forum in Paris this week gave low marks to speakers who bored the audience in this way, according to an unscientific poll conducted by The Register in the bar area hub. Richard Brown, Chairman and CEO of EDS, arrived exhausted, ill-prepared, and with a poor speech presumably written by some PR person, but he could hardly see it on the prompter anyway. His contribution added to the negative impression that EDS has created in Europe from its business activities. Karen Slatford, a Brit who heads up HP's worldwide sales, mixed a tale of travel woe and clothes she had been wearing for three days with a sales pitch and a video that didn't appear. Bernard Vergnes, Microsoft's European chairman, had difficulty working his laptop during his canned presentation. Other IT executives appeared to have learnt a little about how to use the Internet from their children or even grandchildren. The time has come for IT execs to do a better job of managing their time, and to ration themselves a little more. Some, especially if they started life as accountants, demonstrate their inadequate technical ability. It is also absurd that the execs often have two or three titles - typically CEO, President and Chairman - and do at best a modest job in each capacity. There's a need for more people at the top. ®

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