Biography of Enron Founder Kenneth Lay
Wednesday, July 05, 2006
July 5, 2006 -- A brief biography of Enron founder Kenneth Lay
- Born Kenneth L. Lay in Tyrone, Missouri, April 15, 1942 (64 years old).
- Spent his childhood helping his family make ends meet.
- Father ran a general store and sold stoves until he became a minister.
- Lay delivered newspapers and mowed lawns to pitch in.
- Attended the University of Missouri, found his calling in economics, and went to work at Exxon Mobil Corp. predecessor Humble Oil & Refining upon graduation.
- Joined the Navy, served his time at the Pentagon, and then served as undersecretary for the Department of the Interior before he returned to business.
- Lay was executive at Florida Gas, then Transco Energy in Houston, and later became C-E-O of Houston Natural Gas.
- Founded Enron in 1985 when his Houston Natural Gas merged with InterNorth in Omaha, Nebraska and became chairman and CEO the next year.
- Nicknamed "Kenny Boy" by President Bush after meteoric rise.
- Led energy and trading conglomerate that reached Number Seven on the Fortune 500 in 2000 and claimed 101 (b) billion in annual revenues.
- Stepped down as C-E-O in February 2001 when Jeffrey Skilling took over
- Resumed the role when Skilling abruptly resigned on August 14, 2001.
- Resigned as chairman and C-E-O January 23, 2002
- Resigned from board February 4, 2002.
- Appeared before Congress in 2002 and invoked the Fifth Amendment.
- Alleged to have sold more than four (m) million shares of stock for 184 (m) million dollars from 1996-2001.
- Received bonuses of 18-point-one (m) million in 1997-2000.
- Lived in seven-point-four (m) million-dollar penthouse near downtown Houston.
- Lay was convicted on six counts of fraud and conspiracy accused of conspiring to portray Enron as healthy when they knew accounting tricks hid losses and failing ventures. He was accused of perpetuating the ruse following Skilling's resignation as C-E-O in 2001, less than three months before Enron crumbled.
- Lay was convicted of one count of bank fraud and three counts of lying to banks in a separate non-jury trial regarding his personal banking. Prosecutors alleged he misled lenders of his intention to use 75 (m) million in personal loans to carry or buy stock on margin. Each count carried a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison.
- Lay faced a combined maximum penalty of 165 years in prison
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