BUSINESSWEEK ONLINE: APRIL 12, 1999 ISSUE

Readers Report

It's Time for a ''Chief E-Business Officer''

From Main Street to Wall Street, E-business has become a hot topic and a buzzword (''E-business,'' Cover Story, Mar. 22). Your increased coverage of E-business stories and your new quarterly supplement point to its importance. But can a chief executive officer focus on new E-business strategies, maintain traditional markets, and guide a company quarter after quarter? That's why it's time for a chief E-business officer (CEBO)--who will blend a company's E-business strategies with traditional corporate and strategic management. Indeed, E-business is no longer something that can be left to technology staffers.


Matthew McGinley
Brooklyn, N.Y.



American Education Needs These Reforms

Your excellent article about David T. Kearns (''The mission,'' Social Issues, Mar. 22) presents many important issues. Could General Electric Co. compete with Sony Corp. if it shut down for June, July, and August every year? One of the most important reforms is to lengthen the school year. Students in Singapore, South Korea, Hungary, and the Czech Republic attend school for 210-220 days per year. In Arizona, it's 176 days. How can they possibly perform as well?

Teachers favor modernizing American education. Our students can't compete with those in Europe or Asia. The 7 out of 10 who do not go to college in our system have few options, while German apprentices are trained on state-of-the-art equipment, in businesses that want to hire them, and they earn $600 per month while attending school. Who would drop out?

Our schools must move from the Agrarian Age into the Information Age.

Christine Rademan
Teacher
Scott L. Libby Elementary School
Litchfield Park, Ariz.

You capture the essence of David Kearns's leadership skills: vision, passion, integrity, unrelenting focus. I worked for David at Xerox Corp. for 19 years. In addition to his leadership in Xerox' turnaround, readers should know about his affirmative action leadership. When David arrived at Xerox, minority groups and women made up only 2% of the company's U.S. sales force. When he retired, the figure was 50%. This expanded pool of resources contributed to Xerox' leadership talent and success.

Douglas Reid
Fairfield, Conn.

It is encouraging to see corporate executives like David Kearns take an interest in reforming American education. But nowhere is there any mention made of the need to upgrade teacher pay to improve schools by attracting and retaining highly capable personnel. While ''quality, standards, choice, competition'' are all unquestionable components for education reform, none of them will work effectively if they are implemented by teachers and principals of mediocre ability.

While taxpayers and businesses all want education reformed, most want it on the cheap. But talent comes at a price. Stricter standards for teachers may keep incompetents out, but they won't bring heavy hitters in. We need to understand the concept that every sports fan knows already: If you want quality on your team, you'll have to pay for it.

Thomas Sullivan
Spokane, Wash.



Malaysia's Cyber Corridor Boasts Some Successes

It's unfair and misleading to insinuate that the Multimedia Super Corridor (MSC) is a failure (''Mahathir's High-Tech Folly,'' Information Technology, Mar 29). While the MSC may be facing some problems, these have been largely a result of the economic crisis which has reduced investor interest in Asia in general and affected the government's financial capability to proceed with the MSC's full implementation. A lot of money has been spent to develop the necessary infrastructure, and the government remains committed to the MSC, which continues to build up steam.

You mention Singapore and Hong Kong as alternatives for investors in high tech. But these two have their own problems--including high costs. The devaluation of the ringgit has made the MSC cheap for high-tech companies.

You say that money spent to develop Putrajaya, which you described as a noncore element of the MSC, was wasteful. Putrajaya is not part of the MSC.

You failed to get the views of Intel, Matsushita, or Dow Corning. These companies have long been established in Malaysia, and they are increasing their investments.

These investors know that Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad was taking aim at short-term investors who have wreaked havoc on the Malaysian economy. There is growing international agreement on the need for some controls on short-term capital. On the other hand, Malaysia has made it easier than ever for these investors, relaxing foreign ownership restrictions and improving their investment terms. The currency regulations did not affect the MSC companies.

Asgar Stephens
National Economic Action Council
Prime Minister's Department
Kuala Lumpur

Editor's note: Putrajaya is listed as an ''MSC city'' in government literature about the project.



Businesses Are Cool on a Global Warming Accord

The suggestion that business and environmental groups are ''lining up'' behind the Chafee-Lieberman-Mack Credit for Early Action is incorrect (''All cozy over global warming,'' In Business This Week, Mar. 15). Currently, only one environmental group supports the legislation--and its members helped write the bill.

The Global Climate Coalition represents approximately 230,000 businesses. Although our member companies have yet to indicate any position on the Chafee legislation, they remain opposed to adoption of the 1997 Kyoto Protocol or any measure that would move us closer to adoption of this damaging agreement. Only a handful of other companies that stand to gain have indicated support for the Chafee proposal.

Business remains supportive of the voluntary programs in place to address greenhouse gas emissions. There is no groundswell of support among business for the Kyoto Protocol.

Glenn F. Kelly
Executive Director
Global Climate Coalition
Washington



The Sunny Side of Protectionism

''This banana war is no laughing matter'' (News: Analysis & Commentary, Mar. 22) may have been a factual story, but from the standpoint of the world's small and economically weak nations it missed the most important threat to economic globalization.

That threat lies in the fact that unless the rules of the World Trade Organization are rewritten to take into account the economic fragility of small nations, globalization as a beneficial trading concept--capable as it is of bringing enormous gains--will self-destruct by virtue of the opprobrium it generates among the weak and the poor.

Individual Americans who come to these shores as tourists are appalled at what they perceive will be the inevitable results of Washington's stance on this issue. They see immediate economic destruction among a hardworking, landowning peasantry and a consequent breakdown of social order in a community trying hard to earn an honest living without the benefit of natural resources.

Your own economy has done a wonderful job in expanding and generating wealth, and we can learn much from your model. But don't let material progress blind you to simple justice.

F.N. Devaux
St. Lucia, West Indies



''Make kiddie seats mandatory'' (Personal Business, Mar. 29)

''Make kiddie seats mandatory,'' (Personal Business, Mar. 29), which appeared in some editions, erroneously stated that a US Airways plane crashed in Sioux City, Iowa, in 1989; it was a United Airlines flight.



''CBS: Can Mel Karmazin reinvent network TV?'' (Cover Story, Apr. 5)

Because of a typographical error, ''CBS: Can Mel Karmazin reinvent network TV?'' (Cover Story, Apr. 5) stated that CBS Corp. is a ''media giant with $26 billion.'' It should have read ''worth $26 billion.''





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LETTERS:
It's Time for a ''Chief E-Business Officer''

American Education Needs These Reforms

Malaysia's Cyber Corridor Boasts Some Successes

Businesses Are Cool on a Global Warming Accord

The Sunny Side of Protectionism

CORRECTIONS & CLARIFICATIONS:
''Make kiddie seats mandatory'' (Personal Business, Mar. 22)

''CBS: Can Mel Karmazin reinvent network TV?'' (Cover Story, Apr. 5)

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