WorldCom to reshuffle its deck

Bankrupt telecommunications service provider WorldCom Inc. is in the market for a new chief executive officer, the company disclosed Tuesday.

John Sidgmore, who has served as president and chief executive officer (CEO) since April, announced he will step down when the company finds a permanent replacement.

Sidgmore was installed as the top company executive after former CEO Bernie Ebbers was ousted by the board. The company has disclosed more than US$7 billion in accounting improprieties and has filed for bankruptcy protection under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code.

"I have concluded that having moved WorldCom through the initial phase of the bankruptcy process now is the appropriate time for the company to initiate a search for a long-term CEO," Sidgmore said in a statement.

Sidgmore will remain in his current position until a successor is named. At that time he is expected to return to his role as vice chairman, according to the statement.

WorldCom, in Clinton, Mississippi, did not say how long it would be before it would find a new chief executive officer. It has retained an executive recruiting firm to identify candidates, and its board of directors, along with a committee of WorldCom creditors, will be responsible for the executive search.

Additionally, the company affirmed in a statement that it is on track to restructure and emerge from bankruptcy in mid-2003.

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