WorldCom names an ethics officer

A former official of Lockheed Martin Corp. will serve as WorldCom Inc.'s chief ethics officer and executive vice president of ethics and business conduct.

Nancy Higgins, formerly vice president of ethics and business conduct for Lockheed Martin, will oversee the new global ethics program from WorldCom's offices in Ashburn, Va., the company announced Tuesday. She will report to Michael Capellas, WorldCom chairman and chief executive officer.

WorldCom has been working to rebuild its corporate image since it filed for one of the largest bankruptcies in history in 2002. The company is conducting business under the brand name MCI, and has moved its corporate officers to Ashburn.

The company also has started ethics training for its 55,000 U.S.-based employees and contractors, distributing its code of ethics and business conduct to all employees. It also has established a zero-tolerance policy concerning suspected violations of the company's code of ethics and business conduct, and opened a confidential ethics hotline for employees.

Higgins "brings a rare combination of direct experience in developing and overseeing large-scale ethics programs, a proven 10-year track record for creating best practices and, most importantly, an absolute passion for the job," Capellas said.

Before her time at Lockheed Martin, Higgins was a senior corporate attorney with the Boeing Co., where her responsibilities included providing legal support to the company ethics and self-governance functions and serving as director of corporate ethics policy. She headed Boeing's first companywide ethics and business conduct organization.

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