POWER POINTS: Skilling Moves On To Charities, Family
By Mark Golden
Of DOW JONES NEWSWIRES
NEW YORK (Dow Jones)--Jeff Skilling will be spending the next few years
working with charities in Houston and spending time with family, the former
chief executive of Enron Corp. (ENE) said in an interview.
The 47-year-old Skilling, who resigned abruptly from Enron after the
board meeting Aug. 14, repeatedly said he had left - as stated - for
reasons. Wall Street has been skeptical of the explanation, and several
have said they're waiting for "the other shoe to drop." The company's stock
price fell 14% in response to the announcement last week - a loss of about
billion in shareholder value - and hasn't recovered this week.
But the former chief executive said the stock price will recover once
investors see that his departure isn't a precursor to more bad news for the
"I've spent the last 34 years working really hard," said Skilling, who
requested the interview with Dow Jones Newswires. "There are a lot of things
that I haven't been doing - personal interests, spending time with family.
are a number of charitable things that I haven't spent the time on that I
believe I should. I don't mean fundraising, but hands on, getting out and
things, building houses, helping individuals."
Skilling, who has been involved with a multiple sclerosis charity for
said he plans to get involved in promoting the City of Houston.
"It's massively underrated as a place to work and live," he said. "It's a
great city, and I think I can do a lot to get that across."
Though insistent that there is nothing more to his departure than personal
reasons, Skilling said little to reveal why a talented executive would
the top spot of the country's largest energy trading company just six months
after taking the job. Skilling had been Enron's No. 2 executive from 1997
this year, and he's generally credited with the success of Enron's wholesale
trading operations, which comprise about 80% of the parent's earnings.
He confirmed there's no crisis in his family, and his health is fine.
Skilling, who assumed the chief executive title on Feb. 12, also denied that
was suffering under the strain of the job.
Late last week, Chairman Kenneth Lay and other Enron executives in New
told Wall Street analysts that Skilling had been going "kind of nuts" under
pressure of being chief executive, one analyst said.
"It's not true that I was cracking up," he said. "Do I sound like someone
is cracking up? The representation of me as thick-skinned is a reasonable
When asked if his departure could have been handled more smoothly so as
alarm investors, Skilling said that perhaps the mechanics could have been
better, but said that is hindsight.
"We thought it through and thought we were going about it in the right
he said. "I don't know what we could have done differently. It will turn
retrospect, fine, as soon as people see that there's nothing else."
About One Week's Notice
The former chief executive totally disagreed with speculation in this
last week that Enron Chairman Kenneth Lay, who immediately resumed the role
chief executive, may have wanted to regain day-to-day control of the company
pushed Skilling out.
"I think the world of Ken. You can't find a bigger fan of his than me," he
said. "I was not forced out. Personal and family reasons are 100% of the
I guess it's kind of mundane, and I'm sorry it doesn't have as much drama
suspense as a lot of people would like it to have, but that's what the deal
Skilling said he spoke with Lay about wanting to do other things many
over the years. The first serious discussion of his imminent departure came
about a week before the announcement, said Skilling, whose recollection of
giving notice to Lay was somewhat cloudy.
"The board knew what was going on, and that was the point (the Aug. 14
meeting) where the decisions were going to be made," he said.
"I guess to accept my resignation," Skilling said.
Enron refused to release a copy of the minutes of the Aug. 14 board
which was regularly scheduled. The company doesn't generally release
board-meeting minutes, spokeswoman Karen Denne said.
The former chief executive continues to work as a paid adviser to Enron. A
clause in his contract prevents him from competing with the company through
end of 2003, and he has no plans to work outside the energy industry.
That might sound like a big comedown from running the country's most
aggressive energy company, but Skilling said the move fits.
"Some people say 'Well, you were working and aspiring so long to become
Enron.' That's not true. I was working to build a business, and we did,"
Skilling, who is credited with transforming the company into a trading
"The company I built is doing great. My life is moving on."
He also said the company will do fine without him. Some analysts have
expressed concern about Enron's ability to retain its top talent. Skilling's
predecessor as Enron's No. 2 executive, Richard Kinder, for example, left
company in 1996 after Lay announced that he would be retaining the chief
executive spot for another five years. Kinder went on to buy Enron's small
liquids pipeline business and turned that company into Kinder-Morgan Inc.
Enron's current management, Skilling said, has a "very deep bench." For
example, he described Enron Energy Services Chief Executive Dave Delaney as
"Dave created the Canadian business in Enron," Skilling said.
-By Mark Golden, Dow Jones Newswires; 201-938-4604;
(END) Dow Jones Newswires 24-08-01
US;ENE US;KMI DE;KN3U
Source DJES - Dow Jones Energy Service
I/ELC I/GAS I/PIP I/XISL N/CMD N/CNW N/DJS N/DJWB N/DJWI N/DPG N/NRG N/POV
N/WEI M/ENE M/NND M/UTI P/DGA P/DUT R/NAPW R/NME R/TX R/US R/USS MST/I/ELC
MST/I/GAS MST/I/PIP MST/N/SUM MST/I MST/R/NME MST/R/US/TX MST/R/US