E-commerce minister reshuffled to Treasury

Mike O'Brien, formerly an international trade minister, is set to take over the e-commerce helm from Stephen Timms
Written by Andy McCue, Contributor

The UK's e-commerce minister, Stephen Timms, has been moved to a role in the Treasury as a result of last week's Cabinet reshuffle by the prime minister, Tony Blair.

Timms took over the role of minister for ecommerce and competitiveness at the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) in May 2002. The energy portfolio was then added to his brief last year, raising concerns about his workload and his ability to devote enough attention to key IT issues.

Last week's reshuffle has now seen Timms replacing Ruth Kelly in the role of financial secretary to the treasury under the chancellor of the exchequer, Gordon Brown.

Timms brought an IT background through his work at Ovum to the e-commerce minister post, lobbying for universal broadband and opening up the Wi-Fi spectrum, and he is one of the contenders for the individual who has made the greatest contribution to UK technology at the annual CNET Awards.

Replacing Timms is international trade minister Mike O'Brien MP who takes over the post with immediate effect.

Nick Kalisperas, director of public sector at IT industry trade association Intellect, said Timms had a "good stint" in the role and contributed to the progression and maturity of the UK's IT industry. While O'Brien doesn't come with Timms' IT background, Kalisperas said he will bring other qualities to the role.

"O'Brien seems to have a good reputation for engaging industry through his role as international trade minister, and that is good for us," he said.

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