The Rise and Fall of Enron

1532 Words6 Pages
Most of the world has heard of Enron, the American, mega-energy company that “cooked their books” ( ) and cost their investors billions of dollars in lost earnings and retirement funds. While much of the controversy surrounding the Enron scandal focused on the losses of investors, unethical practices of executives and questionable accounting tactics, there were many others within close proximity to the turmoil. It begs the question- who was really at fault and what has been done to prevent it from happening again?
The story of Enron begins in 1985, with the merger of two pipeline companies, orchestrated by a man named Kenneth L. Lay (1). In its 15 years of existence, Enron expanded its operations to provide products and services in the areas of electricity, natural gas as well as communications (9). Through its diversification, Enron would become known as a corporate America darling (9) and Fortune Magazine’s most innovative company for 5 years in a row (10). They reported extraordinary profits in a short amount of time. For example, in 1998 Enron shares were valued at a little over $20, while in mid-2000, those same shares were valued at just over $90 (10), the all-time high during the company’s existence (9).
Though the numbers looked good, the process behind them was questionable. Unbeknownst to many, Jeff Skilling, a top Enron executive, was able to persuade the SEC and their accounting firm, Arthur Anderson & Company, to approve the use of mark-to-market
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