In the mass market, "ask the Tyco CFO" may not gain the cache or popularity Ann Landers has achieved for her counsel on personal relationship issues. But for investors or anyone else troubled by Tyco International Ltd.'s accounting, the company has started a weekly teleconference with Mark H. Swartz, Tyco executive vice president and chief financial officer.
L. Dennis Kozlowski, chairman and CEO of Bermuda-based Tyco, said in an interview, "It is an open line for anyone who calls" to ask questions.
"The purpose of the calls is to clear up any questions on accounting" or related disclosure practices of Tyco, Mr. Kozlowski added.
"We've taken our disclosure to a level further than anyone else," he said. "I don't think anyone has as much disclosure on accounting."
Mr. Kozlowski said the weekly teleconferences will last as long as there is an interest in them.
The teleconferences are at noon EST on Tuesdays. Anyone can participate by calling (888) 276-0010; the line is open for asking questions as well as just listening. A replay line for the previous week's teleconference also is available at (800) 475-6701. The replay line requires a pass-code, which is 627662. (No code is needed for the question line.)
Mr. Swartz, who oversees accounting, leads the calls, joined by other members of the financial staff.
"We maintain our accounting is good," Mr. Kozlowski said.
"There has been a press swirl about our accounting," he added. "But we've been forthright."
Mr. Kozlowski blames short-sellers for the decline in Tyco stock price, which closed March 13 at 34.64, down 41.2% since the beginning of the year.
"I will say the bears and short-sellers have done a good job of criticizing accounting," he said. "A lot of people raising accounting issues have shorted the stock."