1998 | Houston

Reassuring Words

At Enron, business is booming.

Respect: We treat others as we would like to be treated ourselves. We do not tolerate abusive or disrespectful treatment. Ruthlessness, callousness, and arrogance don’t belong here.

Integrity: We work with customers and prospects openly, honestly, and sincerely. When we say we will do something, we will do it; when we say we cannot or will not do something, then we won’t do it.

Communication: We have an obligation to communicate. Here, we take the time to talk with one another…and to listen. We believe that information is meant to move and that information moves people.

Excellence: We are satisfied with nothing less than the very best in everything we do. We will continue to raise the bar for everyone. The great fun here will be for all of us to discover just how good we can really be.

From Enron’s 1998 annual report. After lobbying successfully to be exempted from financial regulation, Enron quickly dominated U.S. energy markets. By 2000, it employed 19,000 people and had revenues of $101 billion, but in 2001 it declared a third-quarter loss of $618 million. Enron used fraudulent accounting to keep debt off its books and inflate assets, overstating profits by almost $600 million from 1997 to 2000. It filed for bankruptcy in December 2001. The company’s founder, Kenneth Lay—who George W. Bush knew as “Kenny Boy”—was convicted of fraud but died before sentencing. Enron’s auditor, Arthur Andersen, was found guilty of obstructing justice, for shredding Enron-related audit documents.