Skip to main content

John Sidgmore, the former UUNet chief who served briefly as president of WorldCom, died Thursday at the age of 52.

The Internet executive's family said the cause of death was kidney failure believed to be related to acute pancreatitis.

Sidgmore took over the leadership at WorldCom in 2002 after founder and CEO Bernie Ebbers was forced out in the wake of a massive accounting scandal. As a result of some $11 billion in bookkeeping missteps, the nation's No. 2 telco filed for Chapter 11 protection that summer. Former Compaq CEO Mike Capellas was later picked to run the company, and he is now leading a reorganization effort. WorldCom, since renamed MCI, is expected to emerge from Chapter 11 protection early next year.

UUNet, the so-called original Internet backbone, was acquired by WorldCom in 1996 as Ebbers embarked on a massive acquisition spree. That strategy made WorldCom one of the best-performing stocks of the 1990s bull market, until its scandal-ridden demise.

TheStreet Recommends

After leaving WorldCom, Sidgmore served as chairman of Electronic Commerce Industries, a Reston, Va., a business software and automation service.

In a statement issued Thursday, MCI said: "We are deeply saddened by John Sidgmore's passing. He was a true Internet visionary, leader and friend who had an uncanny ability of bringing joy into people's lives."