Business Thoughts01 Mar 2006 10:58 am

David Delainey, the former head of the energy services unit, said that Skilling signed off on a controversial accounting move that involved shifting losses. “There was no business purpose but to hide the loss and I knew that was not proper,” he testified. In a moment revealing Skilling’s softer side, Delainey testified that Skilling became overcome with emotion when Delainey told him that his unit was so profitable that it would give the company financial flexibility for a few quarters. “He gave me a hug,” said Delainey. from the WSJ Law Blog.

In his book Conspiracy of Fools, A True Story, Kurt Eichenwald (who is a very good business author), portrays Jeff Skilling as a ruthlessly ambitious, yet conflicted individual. On one hand, he wants to quit Enron to protect his family, yet on the other hand he is working the angles so hard and fast, that ultimately the corners become round. In Eichenwalds book, Andy Fastow is portrayed as the chief crook, while Kenneth Lay, and Skilling serve as willing and silent accomplices.

Fastow’s guilt is easy to see. It is written in checkbooks, and legal documents everywhere. Lay and Skilling’s crimes are harder to see. I have felt, that the truth to this, as is most often the case lies somewhere in the middle, and that Lay, and Skilling were complicit in the crimes. Their crimes were not written in emails, contracts or checks, but in the consience of the team they served. This testimony seems to validate this.

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