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AT&T veteran to take reins at MCI

Telecommunications veteran Richard Roscitt will become president of the bankrupt No. 2 long-distance telephone carrier, now facing allegations of illegally routing calls.

Richard Roscitt, who has 30 years of experience in the telecommunications industry, has been appointed the next president and chief operating officer of MCI, the troubled U.S. carrier announced Wednesday.

The hiring of Roscitt, who joins MCI on Sept. 1, is the fifth high-level executive change at MCI in the seven months since former Hewlett-Packard president Michael Capellas became company CEO and chairman. MCI, the renamed WorldCom, is the second-largest U.S. long-distance telephone provider.

"I am confident that Rick's leadership, energy and telecom experience will serve MCI well," Capellas said Wednesday in a statement.

Roscitt has been the chairman and chief executive of Minneapolis-based telephone-equipment maker ADC since 2001. He also spent 28 years at No. 1 U.S. long-distance company AT&T, where he was president of AT&T Business Services.

ADC will replace Roscitt with ADC veteran Robert E. "Bob" Switz, the company announced Wednesday.

Roscitt will step in at a precarious time for MCI. A corporate accounting scandal forced the company into bankruptcy last year.

But as it battles creditors, new troubles have emerged. The Federal Communications Commission and the New York U.S. Attorney are both investigating claims that MCI illegally routed calls through Canada to avoid paying connection fees to other carriers. MCI says it's been cooperating with all the investigations.

AT&T has made the same allegations and has said it plans to sue MCI. Verizon Communications and SBC Communications have also questioned MCI's practices.

Roscitt shrugged off the company's ongoing troubles.

"I wouldn't be here if I didn't trust in Michael's integrity," Roscitt said in a conference call Wednesday. "I have very little doubt that, as time goes on and the story unfolds, I'll continue to be proud of MCI."

The other recent high-level executive changes at MCI include the appointments of Robert Blakely (chief financial officer), Anastasia Kelly (general counsel), Daniel Casaccia (executive vice president, human resources) and Grace Chen Trent (chief of staff and senior vice president).