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Tuesday, 17 December, 2002, 21:56 GMT
Worldcom directors resign
Newly named WorldCom chief executive Michael Capellas
Worldcom chief Michael Capellas is looking for new directors
Six Worldcom directors who sat on the firm's board during the events that led to its collapse in one of the biggest corporate scandals in US history have stepped down.

The resignations clear the way for Worldcom to appoint new directors in an effort to restore its credibility as it struggles to emerge from bankruptcy.

"It is now appropriate for each of us to stand down as directors and give (Worldcom chief Michael Capellas) the opportunity to continue the process we have started to put in place substantive reforms and best governance practices," the departing directors said in a statement.

Worldcom filed for bankruptcy protection in July this year after it emerged that the firm had used accounting tricks to massage its profits over a two-year period.

Confidence shaken

The affair, which came six months after revelations of similar accounting irregularities at energy trading giant Enron, undermined investor confidence in corporate financial statements, triggering a global share price slump.

The scandals at Enron and Worldcom also raised questions over the role of company directors, who are supposed to ensure that management decisions serve the interests of shareholders.

The resignations leave just three recently appointed directors on the Worldcom board alongside the firm's chief executive Michael Capellas.

The departing members are former interim chief executive John Sidgmore, Carl Aycock, Max Bobbitt, Franceso Galesi, Gordon Macklin and Bert Roberts.

Revival

There was no word on who their successors would be, or when they would be appointed, although Mr Capellas has pledged to recruit new board members quickly.

Mr Capellas, whose pay package as Worldcom chief was criticised as excessive by a federal judge last week, is expected to set out a 100-day plan for Worldcom in January.

He has said he aims to bring Worldcom out of bankruptcy by the middle of next year.

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