It is the first name which comes into mind when rise and fall of a company is discussed.
Enron Corporation (former NYSE ticker symbol ENE) was an American energy, commodities, and services company based in Houston, Texas. Before its bankruptcy in late 2001, Enron employed approximately 22,000 staff and was one of the world's leading electricity, natural gas, communications, and pulp and paper companies, with claimed revenues of nearly $101 billion in 2000. Fortune named Enron "America's Most Innovative Company" for six consecutive years. At the end of 2001, it was revealed that its reported financial condition was sustained substantially by institutionalized, systematic, and creatively planned accounting fraud, known as the "Enron scandal". Enron has since become a popular symbol of willful corporate fraud and corruption. The scandal also brought into question the accounting practices and activities of many corporations throughout the United States and was a factor in the creation of the Sarbanes–Oxley Act of 2002. The scandal also affected the wider business world by causing the dissolution of the Arthur Andersen accounting firm.
Enron filed for bankruptcy protection in the Southern District of New York in late 2001 and selected Weil, Gotshal & Manges as its bankruptcy counsel. It emerged from bankruptcy in November 2004, pursuant to a court-approved plan of reorganization, after one of the biggest and most complex bankruptcy cases in U.S. history. A new board of directors changed the name of Enron to Enron Creditors Recovery Corp., and focused on reorganizing and liquidating certain operations and assets of the pre-bankruptcy Enron. On September 7, 2006, Enron sold Prisma Energy International Inc., its last remaining business, to Ashmore Energy International Ltd. (now AEI).
THE ENRON SCANDAL
Enron's nontransparent financial statements did not clearly depict its operations and finances with shareholders and analysts. In addition, its complex business model and unethical practices required that the company use accounting limitations to misrepresent earnings and modify the balance sheet to portray a favorable depiction of its performance. According to McLean and Elkid in their book The Smartest Guys in the Room, "The Enron scandal grew out of a steady accumulation of habits and values and actions that began years before and finally spiraled out of control." In an article by James Bodurtha, Jr., he argues that from 1997 until its demise, "the primary motivations for Enron's accounting and financial transactions seem to have been to keep reported income and reported cash flow up, asset values inflated, and liabilities off the books."
The Enron story has produced many victims, the most tragic of which is a former vice-chairman of the company who committed suicide, apparently in connection with his role in the scandal. Another 4,500 individuals have seen their careers ended abruptly by the reckless acts of a few. Enron’s core values of respect, integrity, communication and excellence stand in satirical contrast to allegations now being made public. Personally, I had referred several of our best and brightest accounting, finance and MBA graduates to Enron, hoping they could gain valuable experience from seeing things done right. These included a very bright training consultant who had lost her job in 2000 with a Houston consulting firm as a result of a reduction in force. She has lost her second job in 18 months through no fault of her own. Other former students still hanging on at Enron face an uncertain future as the company fights for survival.