United Airlines CIO steps down as Liberty Alliance head

United Airlines Inc. Chief Information Officer Eric Dean stepped down Friday as president of the Liberty Alliance Project's managing board, citing the "challenges" faced by his financially crunched airline as the reason for his departure.

The Liberty Alliance is a year-old effort to create open standards for identity management across a network, such as an array of password-protected Web sites. Initiated by Sun Microsystems Inc. in response to Microsoft Corp.'s similarly aimed Passport service, the organization now has more than 95 members. Version 1.0 of the group's specifications was released in July.

United Airlines warned last month that it is considering filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The airline's problems are preventing Dean from devoting the necessary time to the Liberty Alliance, he said in a statement. United said it will remain a sponsor member of the group, retain its seat on the management board and continue its involvement in several of the organization's subgroups.

American Express Corp. Vice President of Internet Strategy Michael Barrett will chair the Liberty Alliance's board until a new president is found, the group said.

The organization added that it is on track to deliver its next set of specifications in the first quarter of 2003.

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