Business & Finance

Andersen Worldwide, the umbrella body for Arthur Andersen LLP's international auditing partnerships, named Aldo Cardoso as interim chief executive, Reuters reported. A company spokesman denied Cardoso had been appointed but refused to say who would assume the post. If confirmed, Cardoso would replace Joseph Berardino, who resigned last week. Cardoso is chairman of the board of Andersen Worldwide and heads its operations in France. Andersen has seen an exodus of clients and foreign affiliates as it faces criminal charges and shareholder lawsuits for its role as auditor to bankrupt Enron Corp. The Chicago-based firm announced, meanwhile, that it hired the investment bank Gleacher Partners to advise it on restructuring options.

WorldCom Inc. said it will cut 3,700 jobs, significantly fewer than reported earlier. None of the layoffs would affect its long-distance telephone unit, MCI Group, the company said. Earlier reports suggested that Clinton, Miss.-based WorldCom could lay off as many as 7,500 workers.

Last-ditch meetings to try to arrange a rescue plan for KirchMedia, the deeply indebted German conglomerate, were to be held Thursday, with a bankruptcy filing expected as soon as this weekend if they failed. The company owes creditors about $6 billion and faces a deadline for repaying one $400 million loan next week. Among other interests, KirchMedia holds majority stakes in Germany's largest commercial broadcaster as well as film and TV production houses. It also controls the Formula One auto racing circuit and the broadcasting rights to soccer's World Cup tournament.

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