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LineOne loses its head

Updated: MD replaced - details sketchy

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LineOne's MD Andrew Burke has left the company -- but keep it to yourself, it's still a secret. It appears Burke has been replaced by Ajay Chowdhury and while there's no confirmation of where the new MD is from, one unconfirmed report suggested he's been bussed in from United News & Media -- one of the companies bankrolling LineOne. Amazingly, even people who work for the company don't know about it yet. "No, that's news to me," said one bemused and unhelpful member of LineOne's telephone support staff. And even LineOne's spinbunnies couldn't shed any light on the move, although one spokesperson said that the decision was by "mutual agreement" before being whisked off to a hastily arranged meeting. If their confusion is anything to go by, then LineOne is once again the victim of its own blundering. The company couldn't even handle the switch from being a paid service to a subscription-free Net provider without getting itself in a muddle. Just when it looked like LineOne was going subscription-free, Burke sent an email to all 80,000 members casting doubt on whether the online service would scrap its monthly fee or not Perhaps this is one of the reasons why he left, or was pushed -- both by "mutual agreement", of course. The following comment was received from LineOne's PR company at 13:40 BST today: "Andrew Burke has decided to leave his post as managing director of LineOne and pursue other opportunities. He is being replaced by Ajay Chowdhury who was previously managing director of United Interactive and a board member of LineOne. Andrew and Ajay will work closely together over the next eight weeks to ensure a smooth handover. Andrew has been managing director of LineOne since its inception in August 1996 and has steered the company to its current position as the UK's leading free online service provider* with over 200,000 registered members." ®

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