Magazine

Table: A Star Is Born, Then Burns Out


JANUARY, 1997

Jeffrey Skilling is named president and COO. In six years, he had put Enron (ENE) on the map as a natural-gas and electricity trading powerhouse.

JULY

Enron pays $3.2 billion for Portland General Electric to combine the utility's wholesale and retail electricity expertise with Enron's natural-gas and electricity marketing and risk-management skills.

AUGUST

Enron branches out beyond energy, introducing commodity trading of weather derivatives.

MAY, 1998

Rebecca Mark, a rising star who helped cinch Enron's $3 billion power plant in Dabhol, India, in the early '90s, is named vice-chair. She had been a rival to Skilling as a successor to Chairman and CEO Ken Lay.

JULY

Enron pushes into foreign markets, paying $1.3 billion for the main power distributor to S?o Paulo and $2.4 billion for Britain's Wessex Water. Wessex becomes a building block for Mark's new global water business, Azurix Corp.

APRIL, 1999

Enron agrees to pay $100 million to name Houston's new baseball stadium Enron Field.

JUNE

Enron sells a third of Azurix to the public, raising $695 million.

NOVEMBER

Skilling launches EnronOnline, a Net-based commodity trading platform. A few days later, proclaiming "this is Day One of a potentially enormous market," he introduces trading of broadband capacity.

JULY, 2000

Enron launches online metals trading.

AUGUST

A power shortage darkens California, and state politicians blame Enron and other energy outfits. Problems at Azurix drive its stock to $5, down from $19 at the IPO. Mark resigns as Azurix' chief and an Enron director.

SEPTEMBER

Enron launches online trading of wood products.

DECEMBER

Skilling is promoted to CEO, effective Feb. 2001. Enron's stock has soared 87% in 2000. Enron offers to take Azurix private.

MARCH, 2001

California officials investigate alleged price gouging by Enron and other power marketers.

JUNE

Enron execs sold shares in the first half as the stock slid 39%. Skilling's total: $17.5 million.

AUGUST

Skilling stuns investors by quitting, for "personal reasons." Lay reclaims the CEO title.

OCT. 16

Enron reports a third-quarter loss of $618 million and shrinks shareholder equity by $1.2 billion, citing losses due partly to partnerships run by then-CFO Andrew Fastow.

OCT. 22

Enron says the SEC has started an inquiry into Fastow's partnerships. Two days later, he's out.

OCT. 31

Enron sets up a committee to conduct an investigation of its accounting.

NOV. 8

Net income is revised back through 1997, trimming it by $586 million.

NOV. 9

Dynegy Corp. agrees to buy Enron for $10 billion.

NOV. 15

Lay says Enron made billions of dollars of "very bad investments."

NOV. 19

Enron says it may have to repay a $690 million note and take a $700 million pretax charge.

NOV. 28

Dynegy bails out of the merger after seeing unanticipated debt and cash flow problems in Enron's 10Q filing. Enron's credit is downgraded to junk status.

DEC. 2

Enron files for the largest Chapter 11 reorganization in history.

Data: Company reports, BusinessWeek


Steve Ballmer, Power Forward
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