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Andy Mitchell, CEO of search outfit WebTop and the former boss of AltaVista UK, is on "gardening leave", according to some well-placed gnomes tucked away in the herbaceous borders.

It appears Mr Mitchell was effectively sent home on full pay when WebTop was effectively merged into knowledge management outfit, Smartlogic, with the loss of more than 20 jobs earlier this year.

Both Smartlogic and WebTop are Bright Station companies.

A spokesman for the company said: "Bright Station has transferred its shareholding in WebTop to Smartlogic and the most appropriate management structure is in the process of being finalised."

El Reg called twice to speak to Mr Mitchell. The first time we called he was out to lunch. When we called back we were told he hadn't been in all day. ®

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