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EDITIONS
Monday, 8 July, 2002, 13:39 GMT 14:39 UK
Profile: WorldCom's John Sidgmore
John Sidgmore
Mr Sidgmore is keen to appear open and helpful
John Sidgmore, a 49-year-old internet visionary, is suddenly desperate to deflect attention away from himself.

Two months into a new job, he has found himself in the centre of a corporate scandal that is rattling markets around the world.

It was Mr Sidgmore who was forced to break the news to the world that his chief financial officer had overstated WorldCom's profits by $3.8bn.

Having stepped into the top man's shoes just weeks ago, he must now defend the actions of his company before numerous investigative committees and, potentially, a jury.

Unsurprisingly, his strategy has been to distance himself as much as possible from any of the past events.

But a closer look at Mr Sidgmore's CV shows a deep involvement with both the disgraced firm and the ailing communications sector.

Internet pioneer

Mr Sidgmore has been vice-chairman of WorldCom since June 1997, gaining promotion earlier this year when the firm's founder Bernie Ebbers finally resigned after investigations into his personal finances added to the woes of declining sales and a collapsed share price.

Prior to his appointment at the top of WorldCom, Mr Sidgmore had a solid background in managing pioneering communications firms.

From 1994 until the firm's flotation a year later, he was chief executive officer of UUNET, the world's largest internet company at that time.

UUNET's potential was spotted early on, and the firm was snapped up by the carrier MFS for $2bn and then by WorldCom for $14bn.

Mr Sidgmore kept his job during both takeover processes, indicating his success and popularity.

In 1999, he was voted one of the 25 most powerful people in networking.

Turnaround at GE

An economics graduate, he began his career with General Electric, the world's biggest firm.

After 10 years of hard graft, he rose to be general manager and vice-president of General Electric Information Services.

During his four years in command, he tripled the unit's net income and achieved 20% in growth in revenue after three years of decline.

Now, his magic powers to help businesses will be well and truly tested at WorldCom.

Saviour?

Mr Sidgmore has repeatedly stressed that he will cooperate fully and openly with investigations.

But the lead financial watchdog has already complained of incomplete information.

Then he underlined WorldCom's assets and remaining cash pile.

But the markets are still trembling in anticipation that the firm will go bankrupt.

And he still has a long way to go in his efforts to save WorldCom.

WorldCom

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