Sidgmore 'Very, Very Sorry' for WorldCom Mess - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

7/22/02

Sidgmore 'Very, Very Sorry' for WorldCom Mess

Many expected it, and now it is official.

WorldCom filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Sunday evening in New York.

On the morning after the filing, WorldCom CEO John Sidgmore told the Today show's Matt Lauer that it will be up to the courts to decide who's responsible for the company's falsely inflated profit reports and, ultimately, for its bankruptcy.

Sidgmore told Lauer that he did not know what was going on in the accounting department, but he could not say the same for his ousted predecessor, Bernie Ebbers.

"He was a notorious cost cutter. He knew every dollar and cent. Some people joked he knew how many rolls of toilet paper were in the supply closet. Doesn't it sound outrageous that he may not have known what was going on?" asked Lauer.

"It does sound outrageous. And look, this company is very, very sorry for what happened here. The only thing I'm saying, Matt, I can't get involved in accusing people of crminal activities. Others will decide that. It does seem ridiculous that the senior management team was not involved in that decision," said Sidgmore. 

Sidgmore said he was surprised that Ebbers took the fifth and did not answer quesitons from a congressional committee in Washington.

"A little bit it surprised me because that would be the general legal advice that people had received that were intimately involved, but Bernie Ebbers had always been pretty up-front," said Sidgmore. 

The 18-page document filed Sunday night in New York requests Chapter 11 protection from WorldCom's creditors. It's not the same thing as Chapter 7 bankruptcy, which liquidates a company's assets and distributes the proceeds to creditors.

WorldCom has said that business will go on as normal during the reorganization, and on Monday employees filed into the Clinton headquarters like any other day, only without the pressure of huge corporate debt.

Sidgmore says their jobs are safe, for now.

"We have no plans today to lay off any more people," he told Lauer.

So work continues as employees and stockholders wait to see how the company plans to bounce back from this the largest bankruptcy in U.S. history.

Sidgmore says he intends to remain as CEO through the reorganiztion, which he expects to last less than a year.

Source: WLBT

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