Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Ebbers found guilty!

All major media outlets are buzzing with the guilty on all counts verdict handed down today. Scott Sullivan's testimony, of course was the prosecution's linchpin, and the jury evidently believed him more than they believed Sullivan would lie as part of a sentencing deal.

Back in 2000-2001, I had an IT contract with WorldCom at one of their teleconferencing centers. Morale was rather poor among the operators because Ebbers' cost-cutting wasn't limited to eliminating company Mercedes and chartered flights. "Uncle Bernie" even eliminated water coolers and other things that didn't save much money but tended to impact lower-level employees.

However, I did not believe Ebbers was guilty because a lot of WorldCom employees disliked him. I even felt his $300-something million in unsecured loans from WorldCom had no bearing on his guilt. What convinced me of Ebbers' guilt was his reputation as a very hands-on, almost micromanaging CEO: he immersed himself in all the company's operations that he could. The defense's argument simply didn't wash with me, that Scott Sullivan masterminded everything while Ebbers, just one level up, knew nothing.

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