In the Region Systems Alliance hires Funk as vice...

BUSINESS DIGEST

May 22, 2002

In the Region

Systems Alliance hires Funk as vice president

Systems Alliance Inc., a software development company based in Sparks, said yesterday that it has hired Frederick Funk as vice president of operations.

Funk, of Baltimore, will be responsible for product development, professional services and related activities. He previously worked for two other companies in the area, Aether Systems Inc. of Owings Mills and the former Caliber Learning Network of Baltimore.

Elsewhere

WorldCom Inc. to eliminate tracking stock

WorldCom Inc., the second-largest U.S. long-distance phone company, will stop paying dividends on MCI shares, saving $284 million annually, and eliminate the stock that tracks the consumer unit.

Each share representing MCI Group will be converted July 12 to 1.3594 WorldCom shares, the company said in a statement.

WorldCom is seeking to cut costs as it negotiates $5 billion in bank loans. The company's credit rating has been cut to junk, its shares were dropped from the Standard & Poor's 500 Index and Chief Executive Bernard Ebbers was ousted.

In after-hours trading, WorldCom stock rose as much as 7 cents to $1.49. The shares fell 7 cents to $1.42 in regular trading before the announcement. They've plummeted 92 percent in the past 12 months.

Lucent panel to probe transistor discovery

An independent panel that includes a Nobel Prize-winning physicist is examining accusations regarding the validity of impressive scientific achievements reported by Bell Labs.

The five-member panel was formed last week after an outside researcher contacted Lucent Technologies Inc. with information that caused enough concern to warrant an external review of the experiments, a Lucent spokesman said yesterday. Bell Labs is the prestigious research division of Lucent.

Lucent has contacted the journals that published the work in question, which included a claim last fall by a Bell Labs team that it had created a transistor from a single molecule. Other scientists have been unable to reproduce the experiments and have questioned the research results. Lucent scientists have said that the technique for growing crystals is not easily mastered.

2 ex-executives indicted in N.J. for price fixing

The former president of Nippon Electrode Company Ltd., a unit of Nippon Light Metal Co., has been indicted by a grand jury on charges tied to an international conspiracy to fix the prices of a substance commonly used in making aluminum.

In addition to naming Shogo Ando, the one-count felony indictment also named Manfred A. Mueller, a former executive for VAW Carbon GmbH, for their role in fixing the price of carbon cathode block, which is known for its strength and resistance to heat and chemical reaction.

The indictment by a grand jury in Camden, N.J., accuses the executives and unnamed others of conspiring to fix prices beginning as early as June 1995 and continuing at least through December 1997.

Computer gaming firm to be headed by chairman

TheGlobe.com Inc. said Chief Executive Officer Charles M. Peck will no longer be employed by the company after May 31, according to the company's quarterly report filed Monday with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Effective June 1, Chairman Michael S. Egan will assume the role of CEO and director Edward Cespedes will become the president. Both of them will retain their original positions.

TheGlobe.com sold a portion of its operations and fired half of its employees in August. The New York company continues to operate its computer games magazine, related Web site and its game distribution business.

This column was compiled from reports by Sun staff writers, the Associated Press, Dow Jones and Bloomberg News.

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