Friday, May 26, 2006

Enron: Verdict on an Era

Kurt Eichenwald of The New York Times broke the Enron story and rode it hard for years. His take on the just-completed trial:

Regardless of whether the jury verdict against Kenneth L. Lay and Jeffrey K. Skilling is upheld, testimony from 56 days of trial has sealed what is sure to be history's judgment — one that is unlikely to be vulnerable to appeal.

The Enron case will forever stand as the ultimate reflection of an era of near madness in finance, a time in the late 1990's when self-certitude and spin became a substitute for financial analysis and coherent business models. Controls broke down and management deteriorated as arrogance overrode careful judgment, allowing senior executives to blithely push aside their critics.

Indeed, it could be argued that the most significant lesson from the trial had nothing to do with whether the defendants, both former Enron chief executives, committed the crimes charged in their indictments. Instead, the testimony and the documents admitted during the case painted a broad and disturbing portrait of a corporate culture poisoned by hubris, leading ultimately to a recklessness that placed the business's survival at risk.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I'm floored that he thinks this is over. REFLECT ? You can't reflect on greed that is still HAPPENING!
What happens in Corporate Land isn't far off from the Lobby/Washington Land . This mode of thinking(reporting) is exactly the issue that our society seems to accept. Beginning/Middle/End.
Case closed we can forget now...change the channel.