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Greed 101

Tamar Frankel on what we can learn from Enron

In just a few months during 2001, Enron Corporation went from being the ultimate symbol of new-economy innovation to being a synonym for corporate greed and corruption. Thousands of employees lost both their jobs and their retirement savings as the giant energy-trading company collapsed and its stock price went from more than $80 a share in early 2001 to being nearly worthless when it filed for bankruptcy in December of that year.

Last week, the federal trial began for Enron’s founder and former chairman, Kenneth Lay, and for its former CEO, Jeffrey Skilling. The two men are charged with engaging in a conspiracy to hide billions in revenue losses from investors while enriching themselves from rising stock prices. If found guilty, each could face decades in prison and millions of dollars in penalties.

To discuss the implications of the ongoing Enron trial, BU Today spoke with Tamar Frankel, a School of Law professor of law and an expert in financial regulation, corporate governance, and the Internet.

To hear the interview, click here. (5:13)

Business ethics are at the heart of Frankel’s 2005 book Trust and Honesty: America’s Business Culture at a Crossroads. This semester, she is teaching a course called Legal Aspects of Management as a visiting professor at Harvard Business School.