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is reportedly considering cutting about 16,000 jobs, or 20% of its workforce, as it tries to cope with a $30 billion debt burden and calls on Wall Street for restructuring.

The cuts would be on top of almost 13,000 carried out over the last two years and represent one of the first major initiatives of new CEO John Sidgmore, who took over from the ousted Bernie Ebbers on April 30,

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reported. The proposal was discussed last week during an executive staff meeting in Orlando, Fla., at which Chief Operating Officer Ron Beaumont outlined plans to streamline WorldCom's organizational structure.

WorldCom shares, which topped $64 in mid-1999, closed Tuesday at $1.45, down 6.5%. The company has taken several other actions under the new CEO, including joining its two tracking stocks, WorldCom and MCI, a move which will save it $284 million annually in dividends.