This case study is extracted mainly from two major novels titled “What went wrong at Enron” by Fusaro P.C. and Miller R.M. and “The unshredded truth from an Enron insider” by Brian Cruver.
The Vision Called Enron
The history of Enron goes back to the 1920’s, when a pair of Houston pipeline companies was incorporated to carry gas along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico. In 1956 these companies merged under the name of Houston natural Gas (HNG).
While these companies were working along the coast, another company was building a pipeline network between the Texas Panhandle and the Midwestern United states. Northern Natural gas, which ultimately called itself InterNorth, went public on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in 1947. HNG joined InterNorth on the Stock Exchange in 1968, and they continued to expand their network of pipes through new constructions and acquisitions. In 1985, these two companies merged to create a pipeline system that touched every coast and border of continental United States.
Kenneth lay became CEO of the new company, which he later called Enron. Lay, born in rural Missouri was the son of a Baptist Minister. He Embraced the concept of Enron with a believe which many observers likened to a religious believe. The idea that drove Ken Lay and fueled Enron was that of the power of the free market system. With a PhD in Economics, Lay held many positions before setting off to Enron amongst which was Assistant Professor of Economics at the George Washington University in the United States of America.
In 1987, the new company stated its first vision “to become the premier natural gas pipeline company in North America.” In the late 1980’s, Enron went global with Teesside power plant in England, United Kingdom. The rapid expansion the company experienced in the natural-gas market had necessitated a change in its stated vision. The new vision stated in the 1990’s was “To become the world’s first natural gas major”. Enron was expanding like wild fire across the globe to Central and South America, the Caribbean Islands, India and the Philippines. Back in the U.S.A, Enron was the dominant force in marketing both natural gas and electricity. In 1995, it was again time to synchronize the company’s vision with its growth potentials; this time the new vision took a totally new turn viz “To become the world’s leading Energy Company.” The second half of the 1990’s resulted in Enron creating broader markets in water, metals, coal, paper, Internet bandwidth, weather and anything else that could be sold as a commodity. The business model employed was rather straightforward: control the assets that are needed to control the commodity, create a standard platform or “hub” for that commodity, and establish a network of trading partners to deal in that commodity. Enron had effectively moved from trading just energy to trading all commodities under the sun; this led to a need to once again change the company’s vision, the new vision was as follows “To become the world’s leading company.” Enron’s growth and indeed share price in the late 1990’s and early 2000’s by all means justified this vision. At the end of year 2000, Dr. Kenneth Lay, Founder of Enron stepped down as company CEO allowing his friend and business confidant, Jeffery Skilling to take his place at the helm of affairs, in control of the new vision and new millennium. Skilling who hitherto was President of Enron now added the title of Chief Executive Officer to his ranks leaving Kenneth Lay as chairman of the Board.
Jeffrey Skilling, former chief executive officer of Enron was born on November 25, 1953 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Growing up, Skilling was physically active and broke several bones including one in his back. He obtained his bachelors degree in applied science from Southern Methodist University. He then went to work as a corporate planning officer with First City National Bank of Houston before going on to obtain a Masters...
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