Enron was once the darling of Wall Street. In early 2000, it was the seventh largest Fortune 500 company and the sixth largest energy company in the world. And then, in just a little more than eighteen months, Enron was bankrupt. It was perhaps the largest and swiftest fall in corporate history.
What was the problem at Enron? The company, along with the support of their accountants at Arthur Anderson (another corporate giant that also collapsed in the debacle), would report profits from the purchase of a company. They wouldn’t be actual profits; they would be speculative or anticipated profits. Eventually, people started asking some tough questions and they were exposed for false record keeping. The truth was exposed and the whole thing came crumbling down. And along the way, hundreds of thousands of innocent people were brought down with it. Leadership’s greed and deception brought about this self-destruction.
The debacle of Enron is a reminder of how important character is, especially at the top. The world is longing for leaders of integrity; Godly men and women who are trustworthy, do what they say, keep their word, and are dependable. What happens when leadership lacks this basic character? Proverbs 10:9 answers clearly, “He who walks in integrity walks securely; but he who takes crooked paths will be found out.” The hundreds of thousands of employees and stockholders at Enron and Arthur Anderson will attest to that.