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Outlook: Cockburn rings the changes

AT FIRST glance Bill Cockburn's plans to shake up BT's UK operations look like the actions of a man with too much time on his hands. When he was plucked from WH Smith to become BT's UK managing director last year, the idea was that Mr Cockburn would manage the shop while Sir Peter Bonfield was on the other side of the Atlantic running the merger with MCI. But before his name was on the door of his office the deal had collapsed, and BT was looking a bit top-heavy.

That judgement is too harsh. BT desperately needs to reform itself to meet increasingly capable and fleet of foot competition. Mr Cockburn's plans look a reasonable stab at the problem.