Kenneth Lay being one of the pioneers of Enron from its establishment in 1986, had lead the way of Enron's emergence as one of the leading company in the U.S. And eventually to its collapse and declaration of bankruptcy on December 2001. Kenneth Lay held the position as the CEO and chairman of Enron from 1986 to January 23, 2002. Lay is regarded directly to Enron's over all corporate history. One of the noted businessmen in Houston, Lay closely monitored the development of Enron from a startup company to billion dollar energy giant in the late 90's.
Kenneth Lay with his flaring tactics have influenced different sectors of the government in the interest of Enron which only have lead to more outrage among consumers.
Enron and its chief executive officer, Kenneth Lay, have been remarkably successful in lobbying the executive branch, leaders in Congress and various federal regulatory officials to withdraw government monitoring of many corporate activities within domestic energy markets. As a result of Enron's influence over the last several years, the government has abandoned enforcement powers that prevent corporate abuses of market power. Enron's pursuit of treating electricity as a speculative commodity resulted in millions of consumers paying significantly more for their power and subjected an entire state to forced power outages" (Tyson Slocum, Blind Faith, 2001).
When the Enron Scandal was revealed to the public on November 2001, Kenneth Lay was one of the person that were accused of misleading its investors and public trust by issuing assuring statement that what was happening with Enron was only temporary and urged the investors to buy stocks that were gradually declining towards the last quarter of 2000 to 2001. With the first hand knowledge of the true status of Enron's financial crisis, Lay sold more than $70 Million worth of stocks and his wife selling almost $1.2 Million that eventually was directed to charity by means of her foundation. Lay resigned as the CEO of Enron on January 23, 2002.
Kenneth Lay was charged of several cases of financial crimes, bank frauds, money laundering, insider trading among other cases filed in court. From July 7, 2004 to May 25, 2006 Lay was put on trial by and was found guilty on a number of security and financial fraud charges wand was facing a maximum sentence reaching 20 to 30 years in prison. On July 05, 2006, Kenneth Lay died due to a massive heart attack while on vacation in Snowmass Colorado. Because of his death the court abated his guilty verdict leaving only Jeffrey Skilling to face trial and conviction.
Jeffrey Skilling widely noted in the U.S. business world as the disgraced CEO of Enron, started his career in Enron in 1987 until then chairman and CEO of Enron Keneth Lay hired J. Skilling with the position of chief executive officer of Enron Finance Corporation. Skilling was one of the people that conceptualized and pushed through with the launching Enron Online. By February 12, 2001, Skilling was appointed as the CEO of Enron leading the way to the demise of Enron on the same year.
Living in a fast phased and dangerous life, Enron's CEO. Jeffrey Skilling proved to be ruling a more refined Enron management but was attributed to tolerate immorality, corruption and greed within top management of Enron. He became very idealistic in terms of his vision for Enron. He wanted to make Houston as an alternative to the Wall Street Banks.
He wanted to recruit the best, which meant persuading the leading business school graduates, from places such as Harvard and Stanford, to choose Houston over New York or Silicon Valley. He did so by creating the same culture of unself-conscious greed and reward which Wall Street was forced to suppress by the insider-trading scandals of the late 1980s. He built his own Bonfire of The Vanities in Houston and everyone wanted to feel its warmth" (Broughton, 2002).
With his passion landed Enron to its brink by the start of the new millennium. With its declaration of Bankruptcy on December, 2001, Jeffrey Skilling was indicted for fraud, insider trading and other crimes that lead the way to the collapse of Enron. Quite similar to the practice of other company personnel who has insider information about the hidden losses of Enron, Jeffrey Skilling was able to sell almost $60 of his share before resigning from Enron. Skilling was tried in court from February 2004 and resumed January 30, 2006 until his sentencing on October 23, 2006 when he was sentenced to 24 years and 4 months in prison with a corresponding fine of $45 million because of the bankruptcy and collapse of Enron.
On April 2004, because of the underlying predicament of his trial and conviction, Skilling had a nervous breakdown on the streets of New York City. Paranoid of total strangers he perceived as FBI agents tracking him down.
Andrew Fastow, the chief financial officer of Enron and was directly hired by Jefferey Skilling on May, 1990. Andrew Fastow is an expert in raising funds as demonstrated in his work with Continental bank which also bended its company to disintegration during the bank and financial crisis in the U.S.
Andrew Fastow together with Jeffrey Skilling changed the business strategy and corporate culture of Enron. In the process, they appeared to make Enron very innovative and very profitable. When the stock is rising and the shareholders are getting rich, there is little incentive for the board of directors and the investment community to question the executives very closely. The board is at fault for permitting the suspension of Enron's own code of conduct to permit the conflicts of interest inherent in the off-books corporations controlled by Fastow. A few analysts recommended their clients stay out of Enron, but not many" (Hanson, 2002).
However, this scheme has been one of the reasons for Enron's downfall. With a scheme that only entails pretenses deceiving Enron's investors of the high gain in shares but concealed losses in its books and financial statements. Andrew Fastow was charged by the federal courts of Houston Texas with 78 counts with cases of frauds, money laundering and conspiracy to conceal losses of the company from 2000 to 2001. He was then convicted on September 26, 2006 even with the presence of a plea bargain sentenced with a 6-year term in jail in the Federal Correctional Institution at Bastrop, Texas.
Paula Reiker, former manager of Enron's Investors Relations, was one of the person inside Enron that knew about the losses of the company in its other investment. She was able to sell her shares which she purchased at $15.51 per share to 49.77 per share on July of 2001, about 5 months before the scandal has gone public. On May 19, 2004, after being charged of insider trading,
Rieker, 49, of Spring Branch, Texas, entered the guilty plea today before Judge Melinda Harmon at U.S. District Court in Houston, Texas. Rieker pleaded guilty to a one-count information charging her with insider trading, in violation of 15 U.S.C. 78ff and 78j (b). Rieker faces a maximum sentence of up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $1 million at her sentencing, which will be scheduled at a later date. As part of her plea agreement, Rieker has agreed to cooperate fully with the government's ongoing criminal investigation of the collapse of the Enron Corporation" (Department of Justice, 2004).
Arthur Andersen, one of the top five accounting firms in the U.S. was charged of obstruction of justice with the shredding of valuable documents as evidences that could help the case of the Enron Scandal to pin down the culprits of its downfall and bankruptcy. Due to the early trial by publicity of the celebrated case - the Enron Scandal, Arthur Andersen was forced into dissolution being one of the first casualties of the fall of Enron.
Although the jury convicted the entire firm, it focused the blame on a single person, Andersen's Chicago-based lawyer Nancy Temple, who, according to the legalese, played the "corrupt persuader" who led others astray. Knowing the Securities and Exchange Commission was starting to scrutinize Enron's books, Temple told David Duncan, who supervised the account, to remove her name from a file memo that disagreed with Enron's characterization of a $1 billion loss as "non-recurring" (Cathy Boot Thomas, Time Magazine, 2002)
Although the firm is very much ready to appeal to higher courts, it would be a hopeless act.
Even an acquittal would probably not have saved the firm. "The verdict doesn't matter anyway," says Arthur Bowman, editor of Bowman's Accounting Report. "Arthur Andersen is dead. Once the indictment was handed down, clients started jumping faster than they did off the Titanic." (Cathy Boot Thomas, Time Magazine, 2002)
THE CAUSES OF ENRON'S DOWNFALL
Many noted critics and analyst derived several causes of the collapse of Enron. According to Kirk Hanson, executive director of the Markkula Center…