Overland Park, Kan. (Oct. 16, 2003) -- Telecommunications conglomerate Sprint Corp replaced Big Four firm Ernst & Young - which served as its auditor for 37 years - with rival KPMG.

The change in independent accountants follows a tax shelter scandal at the company that resulted in the departure of chairman and chief executive William Esrey and president and chief operating officer Ronald LeMay. Ernst had devised the shelter as a strategy to help Esrey and LeMay avoid taxes on some $100 million in from stock options.

Sprint said KPMG will start work in 2004. At the company’s annual meeting, 38 percent of Sprint stockholders voted not to retain E&Y as auditor.

In related news, the company voted to cut the severance it offers to top executives in case of a merger by one third, to two years' pay from roughly three years’.

-- WebCPA staff

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