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It is being called the greatest business calamity in American history Enron the seventh largest Fortune 500 company in the nation 1 disintegrated in a matter of days Countless executives employees and retirees watched helplessly as their fortunes disappeared along with Enron Enron a pipeline company in Houston was founded in 1985 It profited by promising to deliver gas to utilities or businesses at a fair market price That changed with the deregulation of electrical power markets Under the direction of former chairman Kenneth L Lay Enron expanded into an energy broker trading electricity and other commodities 2 It generated revenues of 101 billion in the year 2000 It markets electricity and natural gas delivers energy and other physical commodities and provides financial and risk management services to customers around the world 3 What happened at Enron was fundamentally a departure from basic business ethics Enron falsely recorded positive gains each quarter without considering the effects this propaganda would have on itself and on its constituents To enrich themselves Enrons executives lied to shareholders and cooked the books to produce fake profits ignoring the companys long-term financial problems In the last year Enron executives made more than 100 million by exercising stock options and selling shares while at the same time the allegedly false numbers were driving up the value of that stock As the crisis mounted stocks once worth as much as 90 a share plummeted to near worthlessness and employees with the exception of top executives were prevented from selling it 4 There are thousands of current Enron employees who are going to suffer greatly from this debacle They will likely lose their jobs and their retirement savings Whats worse it goes deeper than that There are many other investors who will suffer Regrettably it counts for more than dollars Misconceptions are flourishing particularly toward large organizations A writer in The New York Times quotes a colleagues impression of any big organizations vision
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