John W. Sidgmore, the former president of WorldCom who revealed the company’s shoddy accounting practices, died on Dec. 11 from complications of acute pancreatitis. He was 52.
Sidgmore graduated from State University of New York in 1973 with a bachelor’s degree in economics. He was hired by General Electric, and over the next 10 years, worked his way up to manager and vice president of information services. During his four years in the unit, Sidgmore tripled its net income and achieved 20 percent in growth in revenue.
At the start of the Internet boom, Sidgmore led a series of technology companies, including UUNET Technologies, which grew from $6 million in revenue in 1995 to $4 billion in 1999. UUNET is now the world’s largest Internet access provider.
Sidgmore was the vice chairman of WorldCom’s board when the company began inflating its earnings in order to appear more profitable. A few weeks after he was named president and chief executive officer in April 2002, Sidgmore disclosed the company’s accounting errors.
The Securities and Exchange Commission filed civil fraud charges against WorldCom for improperly accounting for nearly $4 billion in expenses. The charges caused the company’s stock to drop to less than $.10/share and forced WorldCom to declare Chapter 11 bankruptcy in July 2002. Sidgmore left WorldCom five months later, and became the chairman of Electronic Commerce Industries in Virginia.