Open Group, a Cambridge, Mass.-based organization dedicated to advancing the use of open computer networks and systems, has tapped a bank information technology veteran as its chief executive officer.

Joseph De Feo, a senior executive who spent the last seven years managing the information and operations strategy for the $17.7 billion Barclays Group in London, will take over Nov. 1.

He succeeds James Bell, who has been acting chief executive of Open Group since it was formed in February from the merger of X/Open Co. and Open Software Foundation. Mr. Bell will return to Hewlett-Packard Co.

Mr. De Feo, an advocate of open networks, said his primary mission is to develop security and systems management protocol to support commerce on the Internet.

"For the financial community, security concerns are the greatest inhibitor to commercial activities on the Internet," he said. "My feeling is that if these issues are not resolved soon, there will be a stalling in commercial use of the Net."

X/Open, of Reading, England, developed and tested open systems standards. Open Software built open systems and distributed computing technology.

Mr. De Feo says he will have to convince financial services companies that proprietary networks, such as the recently announced Integrion consortium of 15 North American banks, will have higher costs than anticipated.

"Proprietary networks have layers of complexity, and they have overhead that has to be funded and charged for," said Mr. De Feo. "I think users will ultimately find them to be more costly."

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