Time Computers and its secret CEO

And why is it selling its new call centre?

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There's a new sheriff in town at Time Computers. Staff say the two brothers who founded the business, Tahir Mohsan and his half-brother Dr Tariq Mohammed, are no longer calling all the shots. That role is taken by a mystery gentleman called Brian Lynn, the new CEO (not MD, as we reported earlier).

Lynn actually took over three months ago (apologies for the tardiness in our reporting) but the mighty Time publicity machine failed to mention his arrival. But by all accounts he wears the trousers round the company. And he doesn't speak to the staff much. One employee said: "He has ultimate power."

Today is a good day to mention Brian Lynn, as next week seems like it might be a very important time in Time's history.

On Friday 18 May, all Time's employees at its headquarters near Burnley, have been asked to attend a company meeting. On the agenda is to explain what Brian is doing there. And where this leaves Tahir and Dr Mohammed, who, as a family, are valued at £50 million in the Sunday Times Rich List.

(Aside: The number of people employed by Time is a difficult figure to pin down. But sources within the company tell us that before Christmas there were 2840 workers at the main factory, be they direct employees, or long term temps, and now there's 1,600.)

Earlier in the week, folk are coming over from Ireland representing that country's Computers for Teachers initiative. This is the scheme whereby teachers get discounted PCs and Time is tendering for the business. This could mean £40 million for the company, which sounds big potatoes, but Time's production capacity is enormous and really it would just represent a couple of months' sales.

And what about the call centre? Well, Time started building its 1,000-person centre a while back, on the company's site near Burnley, and it was expected to be operational in time for Christmas 2000.

It was finished in February. The building is valued at about £3.5 million, not including the land its on. There are three parties interested in buying it: a government agency; a credit checking business; and Reality, the parent company of Great Universal Stores.

If you're interested in all things Time, there's a site, cheekily called www.tahirmohsan.co.uk, which is worth a look. Time has set its lawyers on shutting down, but for the time being it's worth checking out. ®

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