Enron-The Smartest Guys in the Room paper

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  • Topic: Enron, Jeffrey Skilling, Kenneth Lay
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  • Published : October 5, 2013
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Answer the following questions based on the film Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room (2005).

1. (a) Describe the ownership structure at Enron. (b) How did the ownership structure contribute to the Enron scandal? (15 points) When Enron became a publicly traded company, the employees and executives had more incentive to manipulate earnings and financials. With the shift in structure, there were more external stakeholders to satisfy, which caused the company to focus on short-term results, rather than long-term interests. The company went as far as to trade all sorts of things, including weather and broadband, in order to gain support from investors. Enron got a lot of that support. Investment banks put about $25 million each into the company. With high stakes and image on the line, Enron manipulated earnings to drive stock prices up through mark-to-market accounting to please its stakeholders.

2.(a) Describe the following three leaders: Ken Lay, Jeff Skilling, and Andy Fastow. (b) How did EACH leader contribute to the scandal? (20 points) Ken Lay was a very ambitious man. He was the son of a poor Baptist preacher. Because of Lay’s humble roots, Lay worked several jobs as a kid. He always dreamed about being a businessman one day and making huge wealth for himself. Lay believed he could have a better life with more wealth. He also believed in government deregulation. Lay had a PhD in economics. He aggressively pushed for deregulation of energy markets in Washington. His goal was to liberate businessmen from government’s hold. He took advantage of government letting energy prices float with the market, and started Enron Corporation through a few mergers. Jeffrey Skilling, former CEO of Enron, was said to be “incandescently brilliant” by many at Enron. In reality, he was a risky, danger-seeking gambler. Skilling had a Darwinian view and strongly believed in the idea of “survival of the fittest”. He implemented a group called the Performance Review...
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