Chief of BiB on-line group quits

THE CHIEF executive of British Interactive Broadcasting, the joint venture which plans to launch on-line shopping and banking services next year, yesterday quit the group after just 10 months in the job. David Hilton, whose resignation was announced yesterday, becomes the second senior executive to quit BiB since it was founded 18 months ago. Last November, Peter van Gelder resigned as managing director after Mr Hilton was appointed above him.

A spokeswoman for BiB said: "David set himself certain goals when he joined here which he has achieved." Mr Hilton's replacement is James Ackerman, the Sky television executive who has been running Sky's joint-venture channels.

BiB was set up early in 1997 to develop interactive services which can be delivered to customers via satellite and cable television. The venture's other shareholders include British Telecom, Midland Bank and Matsushita, the Japanese electronics giant. BiB is providing the subsidy for the set- top boxes required to receive BSkyB's digital satellite television services.

For most of its existence, however, the venture has been locked in negotiations with regulators at the European Commission. It finally received clearance last week, freeing up its shareholders formally to sign the joint venture agreement. It is now expected to sign up a string of large retailers and financial groups to its service.