Sherron Watkins, the vice president who spoke out about Enronâ€™s accounting problems months before the energy trading powerhouse collapsed, is resigning from the company, a published report said.
HER RESIGNATION IS effective Friday, The New York Times reported, citing Watkinsâ€™ lawyer, Philip Hilder.
â€œItâ€™s time that she pursues other opportunities and gets on with her life,â€� Hilder said.
A company spokesman told the paper that Watkins, an accountant who remained with the Houston-based firm throughout the scandal, was leaving voluntarily.
Enron, No. 7 on the Fortune 500 list of the biggest companies two years ago, filed for bankruptcy Dec. 2 after revealing a $618 million loss and eliminating $1.2 billion of shareholder equity.
Watkins, 43, is working on a book about Enronâ€™s collapse. Friends said she would also like to create a corporate governance group to advise boards and to continue lecturing on corporate reform.
In August 2001, Watkins, an Enron employee for nearly a decade, wrote a letter to the companyâ€™s former chairman and CEO, Kenneth Lay, warning him about the companyâ€™s improper accounting practices. She predicted that if nothing was done Enron would â€œimplode in a wave of accounting scandals.â€�
She later testified before Congress and then became a prominent figure on the lecture circuit, speaking out about business ethics and the cause of Enronâ€™s collapse.
Enronâ€™s collapse was only the first in a series of corporate scandals that sent investors fleeing from a volatile stock market. Enronâ€™s stock collapse destroyed employee retirement accounts, and the bankruptcy cost more than 4,500 workers their jobs.
Former Enron Corp. chief financial officer Andrew Fastow has pleaded innocent to a 78-count federal indictment charging him with masterminding complex financial schemes that enriched him and helped doom the company.
Fastow, 40, is free on $5 million bond. A pretrial conference has been set for Jan. 13 before U.S. District Judge Kenneth Hoyt.
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