WorldCom name disappears overnight

Telecommunications giant WorldCom, plagued by bankruptcy court and fraud allegations, got rid of its name in favor of MCI Communications in the space of a few hours Sunday night, but the change is more than cosmetic, said the company's marketing vice president.

In an interview a day after WorldCom announced the name change, vice president of global marketing Ron McMurtrie said the company's logos and business cards changed "literally overnight." In taking the name of the company WorldCom acquired in 1998, the company is refocusing on delivering service to customers, he said.

"It's all about unifying and moving on," McMurtrie said of the name change.

Next up for MCI is a series of bankruptcy court hearings, the first in about a month, during which the company will seek approval for its three-year business plan, McMurtrie said. That plan is available at http://global.mci.com/news/infodesk/forward/bizplan/. "The plan is really about setting our path forward and satisfying our creditors," he said.

In a flurry of announcements Monday, MCI also announced it was appointing Morgan Stanley veteran Robert T. Blakely as chief financial officer and moving its corporate headquarters from Clinton, Mississippi, to Ashburn, Virginia, just outside of Washington, D.C.

The move to the Washington area makes sense, McMurtrie said, because government regulators are nearby and Ashburn already has a huge MCI technology campus with 4,500 employees. He used words like "fresh start" and "at the starting gate" to describe the employee attitudes at the renamed company.

While MCI still needs to deal with the bankruptcy, that's not the main focus at the new MCI, McMurtrie said. "What's next is our customers -- we're moving forward," he said. "Restructuring is not top of mind for the executives of this company."

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Grant Gross

IDG News Service
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