New Names

Looking to make a clean break with the past, some big-name companies spent millions on corporate rechristenings. Philip Morris Cos., the Marlboro marketer, had already sought relief from the anti-tobacco legions with a $180 million ad campaign that had little impact. So it went looking for a nondescript name instead, and found Altria Group (MO ) Inc., derived from the Latin word altis, high. AOL Time Warner (TWX ), trying to forget a romance gone sour, returned to its old-media roots with Time Warner (TWX ). And WorldCom Inc., forced into bankruptcy-court protection by a monumental fraud, reverted to its MCI brand. Tyco International (TYC ) Ltd. seemed ripe for a change, but new management chose to stand pat, for now. Turns out customers of ADT security alarms and Grinnell valves don't necessarily associate those brands with their troubled parent.

    Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.