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ComputerWire: IT Industry Intelligence

Rallying the troops in a broadcast to 60,000 employees and a global audience of interested parties, WorldCom Inc's new chairman and CEO Michael Capellas yesterday outlined how he plans to get the beleaguered firm back on track,

Kevin Murphy writes

.

Repeating the mantra of "outrageous urgency", Capellas said the company will file a plan of reorganization on April 15. He set twice-weekly milestones for between now and then, saying a three-year business plan will be finalized March 1.

"We will define our future over next 100 days, we're going to do it with an outrageous sense of urgency," he said in an hour-long speech marking his first major pep talk since he took over the company last year.

New product announcements will start as soon as this week, he said, explaining WorldCom's strategy as introducing new applications to better leverage its IP network and become a leader in convergence.

He said the company will use its infrastructure to support wireless. Capellas also touched on IP voice portals, content delivery and streaming ("content distribution will be king", he said), edge computing, location-specific applications.

"The competitive landscape is really going to change... The most important fundamental shift is convergence," Capellas said. "We know that voice and data will converge and this will bring us opportunities."

Bowing to a "former competitor", in Sun Microsystems Inc's Scott McNealy, Capellas slyly admitted: "The network probably is the computer".

He also identified the small-to-medium-sized business segment as "the greatest single opportunity around the world" and a missed ship that can still be caught up with.

"We have a mass market business and we have a commercial business, and somewhere in between the SMBs got lost," he said.

Capellas's main intention was apparently to portray WorldCom as a fast-moving competitive company with a concrete strategy, rather than a company pushed into the world's largest bankruptcy by crooked accounting.

"Some bad things happened to us, we're not going to stress on it," he said, briefly alluding to the fact that WorldCom is "going to have to reduce structural costs".

Capellas said the company will come up with a cost reduction plan on February 1, with a compensation plan coming two weeks later. This will be followed on March 1 by the three-year business plan.

These milestones will all be rolled into a reorganization plan that will be filed on April 15. At the same time, the company will launch a branding program, which potentially could see the firm seeking to distance some of its services from the WorldCom brand, which is becoming synonymous with corporate
corruption.

© ComputerWire

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