Former Enron Executive to Headline Governance Conference
Andy Fastow, the former Enron executive who spent more than five years in prison for securities fraud, will share his story with C-suite executives and board members at the 14th annual Institute for Excellence in Corporate Governance (IECG) conference on Wednesday, April 20.
The former Enron chief financial officer will talk about the mistakes he made that ultimately led to his conviction and sound provocative warnings about today’s corporate practices at the daylong event, which will be held at the Naveen Jindal School of Management.
Moderated by IECG Executive Director Dennis McCuistion, the conference also will feature Paul Atkins, former commissioner of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission; Ed Knight, executive vice president and general counsel of Nasdaq; Deb DeHaas, chief inclusion officer and national managing partner for the Center for Corporate Governance at Deloitte; Tracy Houston, an expert on boards of directors; Rashad Khalik, international accounting professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; and Ernie von Simson, author of The Limits of Strategy.
The IECG conference is designed to help corporate board members and officers better perform their fiduciary responsibilities. Speakers will explore the theme of “Governing in a World of Disruption and Market Chaos,” with topics including board dynamics, how to get on a publicly traded board, how the big banks used financial engineering to bypass corporate governance and the effects of disruption on businesses.
“With its focus on disruption and market chaos, this year’s conference should be especially pertinent for corporate leaders who don’t feel they are as well versed in the dangers these governance challenges pose,” McCuistion said. “Our exciting lineup of speakers will help them develop and communicate effective solutions that will enhance the abilities of their boards to protect the interests of their stakeholders.”
Fastow pleaded guilty to two counts of fraud, mostly connected to his central role in a complex web of off-balance sheet entities created to funnel tens of millions of dollars into executives’ pockets and hide corporate losses, which contributed to the collapse of the energy trading giant in 2001. In addition to serving prison time, he forfeited $30 million and agreed to testify against his former bosses as a government witness.
A year before Enron’s implosion, its stock was trading at $90 a share, an all-time high. When the truth about Enron’s finances came out, shares went for 40 cents apiece.
The event will be held in the Jindal School’s Executive Dining Room from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, April 20, with a cocktail reception to follow. The cost is $495. Registration and more information about the event are available at the Institute for Excellence in Corporate Governance website.
Since his release from prison in 2011, Fastow has given unpaid talks, mostly at universities, in an effort to teach future leaders what not to do. The first came at the University of Colorado, Boulder. He volunteered to speak to students after reading a column on ethics by the dean of the business school. Fastow also has spoken at Tufts University, Tulane University and Dartmouth College and to the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners and a United Nations group.
After leaving prison, Fastow resumed his life with his wife, Lea, and two sons in Houston, where Enron was based. He currently works as a document-review clerk at the law firm that represented him in civil litigation.
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