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Time Computers has snaffled a former political leader to push it into the e-commerce arena. Not content with hiring vendor or channel fallout, the company has brought Paddy Ashdown into the fold to be a non-executive director. The former top Liberal Democrat is a long-time fan of the company, and was caught espousing on the merits of Time only this summer. According to a Time representative, Ashdown is "not as busy as he was, now that he's stepped down as party leader". But he has "always been very into IT and technology", and is keen to get into "tech-commerce" –- whatever that means. On a similar theme, the UK PC assembler has poached James Richmond from Epson to head up a "new division". Shrouded in mystery, the nature of this additional business to the Burnley company will not be revealed before Christmas, it said. A representative today refused to comment on whether the new appointment was e-commerce –- or even "tech-commerce" related. It seems that Richmond, who was Epson's UK sales director for four years, could be working with quite closely with Ashdown. By its own admission, Time said the MP had been initially been brought in to: "Cover investigating new business opportunities for the company specifically in the area of e-commerce... "Time Group recognises the importance of the Internet for the future of business both nationally and globally and will be in the forefront of future developments utilising this enormous resource." At present it has no e-commerce operations, though plenty of its rivals do. And, it revealed, taking on former heads of political parties certainly makes financial sense. Ashdown said he would not be paid for his position at Time because he was opposed to MPs having outside income. Though thankfully margins aren't yet get tight enough to prompt that call to Thatcher.® Related Story It's Time to beam me up, Scotty

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