The era of Blackwater is over.
The Eastern North Carolina-based private security company had exemplified the problems of using private soldiers in combat zones. Now, after losing its contract to guard U.S. diplomats in Iraq, it is changing its name.
Company officials announced Friday that the group of businesses formerly called Blackwater Worldwide will now be known as "Xe," pronounced like the letter Z.
The company provided no information on how it chose the name.
The attempt to rebrand itself comes as six former employees face manslaughter charges for a shooting that killed 17 civilians in Baghdad. The company has also faced intense scrutiny since four of its employees were massacred and two of them hung from a bridge in Fallujah in 2004.
In January, the Iraqi government denied Blackwater a license to operate there, and its workers are expected to leave the country this spring.
Company spokeswoman Anne Tyrrell said the new name reflects a new focus.
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