The Bug: Interview with Gwynneth Flower Part II

ZDNet: Gwynneth, you're obviously in a tricky position because you're heading up the whole effort, on the Monday following,

GF: (Interrupts) I'll still be on holiday, (laughs). I'll be back on the Tuesday.

ZDNet: OK, when you come back to work,

GF: (Interrupts) Oh I'll be working while I'm on holiday... (laughs) It's a nine day public holiday you see...

ZDNet: So are you going to bring a big packet of Nurofen with you then?

GF: I might have cyanide instead... (laughs)

ZDNet: How confident are you that with all the effort that's gone into this you will be successful at beating this thing?

GF: When I came into this thing, I was very disappointed at what I inherited, there was a tremendous amount of work to do and life was very stressful but now I feel I have a proper team in place with a terrific plan of action which we take out and review frequently because the world is a very dynamic place. I've got the commitment from the Prime Minister downwards to address this and take it seriously. I can only say that while I would not be able to say that while I would not be able today to say, `we're going to be home and...' We're all going to have a problem! It won't be a major problem. I mean we may have a burst water main or we may lose electricity in a localised hour for eight hours or so but there won't be a total blackout across the UK.

There won't be a total loss of petrol although some pumps will run out, but then they do that today you know and sometimes a telephone might not operate today and that may happen. Other than those relatively minor inconveniences, alright they won't be pleasant, but we have to recognise that we can't eliminate this bug. We will all of us experience some disruption to our lives. But my job is to make sure it's not a major disruption.

I couldn't say today that I'm confident because I've still got eighteen months to go, but I'm already a lot happier than I was four months ago when I came into this job. Four months ago I thought, `my God, this is one hell of a mountain to climb. We're now climbing the mountain...

ZDNet: With a good team of sherpas with you

GF: I have yes and this sort of activity, getting people to come on board in partnership roles is what it's all about. Getting people to talk about supporting what `she's trying to do'. I'm raising the profile with the Web site and the information pack and action line, with as many as 500 operators at any one time. And there's a lot more to come.

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Indeed there is. Flower has agreed to an interview with ZDNet News once every two months so we can relay the latest developments in the fight against the millennium bug.

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