MCI WorldCom


Scott Sullivan

Master of the Mega Merger

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Scott Sullivan's
Steps to Success

1983 Summa cum laude graduate, Oswego State University, business administration and accounting major

1983 Accountant, then manager at KPMG, Albany, one of six major accounting firms that offered him a position

1989 CFO of Telus Communications, Florida's largest privately held long-distance company

1990 Vice president and treasurer of ATC Long Distance

1994 CFO of WorldCom

1995 Board of Directors, WorldCom

1996 Oswego College Foundation Board of Directors

1998 Engineer of MCI WorldCom merger; winner of CFO Excellence Award for mergers and acquisitions

1983 Alumnus Renowned for Agressive and Astute Leadership in Telecommunications Industry

       Create the vision, identify the synergies, propose the deal, and execute on the savings in the dynamic world of telecommunications, that is the process that launched some of history's heftiest corporate mergers and acquisitions in the past two years. At the helm of the industry's biggest acquisition to date is Scott Sullivan, a 1983 graduate of Oswego State's School of Business and now the chief financial officer of MCI WorldCom, a global giant in long-distance and local telephone and Internet service.
       When Scott takes stock of his career success, he always comes back to his undergraduate days. "The great thing about Oswego is that it prepared me for the world of business. I had job offers from six of the 'Big Eight' accounting firms when I came out of school." Fresh out of Oswego, Sullivan signed with KPMG, Albany, where he made manager in a record four years and handled major clients, including General Electric Company. At this point, the young accountant veered from what looked like a challenging and successful career path in accounting and moved to the telecommunications field. He was CFO of Telus Communications, Florida's largest privately held long-distance company, then vice president and treasurer of ATC Long Distance, and then CFO of WorldCom.
       Sullivan has helped pilot WorldCom through a series of gigantic mergers over the past five years. He is one of a handful of top executives at the aggressive firm who help shape the boundaries and create the services of telecommunications for the next generation. CEO Bernard Ebbers and Chief Operations Officer John Sidgmore both credit Sullivan for making the MCI acquisition a reality. And Charles Cannada, senior vice president for corporate development, says, "At the time it was approved, the MCI WorldCom merger was the largest merger in United States corporate history, and it was personally managed by Scott Sullivan." The MCI merger was valued at approximately $38 billion when it was announced. Scott Sullivan
       It was August 1997 when Sullivan was enroute to boarding a flight from Washington to Jackson, Miss., that he was notified that British Telecom (BT) had lowered its bid for MCI. "On the plane, I thought about BT's position for making a lower bid and the marketing and cost advantages that favored WorldCom to make a successful higher bid. I was convinced that we could unseat BT as the incumbent acquiring company to a position where they would not be able to bid against us." With both feet back on the ground, Sullivan remained confident that WorldCom could complete the transaction and still land substantial profits on the MCI deal. Salomon Smith Barney investment bankers advised; industry experts contributed counsel, and WorldCom employees threw their energies into the deal. Sullivan himself worked nearly around the clock. In October 1997, WorldCom announced an unsolicited offer directly to MCI's shareholders that eventually brought MCI into its fold.
       "This was a highly pro-competitive merger," says Sullivan. "What MCI WorldCom does is put a stronger competitor out there in the market place against the former monopoly." He adds, "We are the only major U. S. player in the European market. We are raising the American flag in Europe: MCI WorldCom is the third largest telecommunications company in the United Kingdom, the second in Germany, and the third in France." The lightning speed that moved that historic merger has hardly slowed for Sullivan as he has engineered the integration of MCI into the WorldCom organization. Last fall that integration included the largest corporate bond financing at $6.1 billion and a $12 billion bank deal.
       Sullivan is a modest man who thrives on the challenge, excitement and energy of the CFO's life, and spends his time on worldwide company matters instead of in the media spotlight. Nonetheless, he is frequently mentioned in the national press. The New York Times portrayed him as a young executive with a strong corporate image, and CFO magazine selected him for its 1998 CFO Excellence Award in the mergers and acquisitions category. Noting that WorldCom has become the second largest telecommunications company in the world due to a series of 17 bold mergers since 1994, CFO magazine writes, "The behind-the-scenes architect of all these deals has been WorldCom CFO Scott Sullivan, a 37-year-old whiz kid who learned the M&A game at General Electric Co., where he audited potential deals in the 1980s." In December 1994, when Sullivan was elected to the CFO post at WorldCom, the company just ranked in the Fortune 500. Today, the company is the 24th largest in the world.
       Rounding out 1998 as a year of recognition for Sullivan, the SUNY Alumni Honor Roll, an annual publication that focuses on a few exceptional graduates of the state university system, listed him in its most recent issue. And, returning to Oswego State last July for his fifteenth reunion, Sullivan received the 1998 Anniversary Class Award for outstanding career achievements and contributions to his alma mater and to society. At that time, he said, "Never forget your beginnings. I wouldn't have the recognition from CFO magazine or some of the other honors that have come my way if it hadn't been for my alma mater." Reminiscing on campus, Sullivan said he values the encouragement he received from Oswego professors and the advice from Professor William Lundy to use his accounting skills as a springboard to career success.
       Lundy recalls Sullivan as a straight "A" student who exhibited leadership skills and a "unique ability to get along with others." "Even back in 1983, Scott had executive presence and the tact and maturity that made him able to gain respect and confidence from others," says Lundy. "The characteristic that distinguished Scott was his communication prowessspeaking and writing clearly and listening attentively, understandingly and responsively."
       During Reunion '98, Sullivan recalled some of the good times with friends in Cayuga Hall and Delta Mu Delta, the business honorary. "Oswego was a launching site for me," he said. "I focused on academics and set my goals to get ahead in the business world. Oswego State made it possible for me to meet those goals." Affirming his appreciation through action, Sullivan is a member of the board of directors of the Oswego College Foundation and, for the second consecutive year, the national chair of The Fund for Oswego. With Sullivan's leadership, The Fund charted an increase of nine percent in 1997-98 and reached $1.3 million. "I sense a new level of excitement for programs, campus renovations, and strong academic programs for current students. I want to be part of the growth at my alma mater."
       Sullivan and his wife, Carla, make time to relax at the Boca Raton Resort Club, and when time allows, Scott plays golf and joins colleagues on deep-sea fishing expeditions. They also share their time and leadership skills with several community service organizations and foundations, including the Children's Museum of Boca Raton.
       "Because of a busy schedule that doesn't allow me to improve my golf game, I have been relegated to spectator sports. In the past few years, Carla and I have enjoyed our time in Florida at the Super Bowl, Orange Bowl, Stanley Cup and weekly Dolphin football games. We have been fortunate to attend some high profile events, such as the Olympics, the Final Four, and the Masters' Tournament in Augusta."
       In a schedule that seems to allocate more than the standard 24 hours a day to Scott Sullivan, he says he loves what he is doing. "Every time there is another move, another merger, I ask myself, 'How can you top this?' and every time, there has been something new to come along to offer that challenge that makes this life so interesting."
       Without a pause, Sullivan again mentions his alma mater: "I'm very grateful for the solid career preparation I received at Oswego State."


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