Sherron Watkins

Sherron Watkins

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Sherron Watkins was Vice President of Corporate Development at the Enron Corporation
Enron
Enron Corporation was an American energy, commodities, and services company based in Houston, Texas. Before its bankruptcy on December 2, 2001, Enron employed approximately 22,000 staff and was one of the world's leading electricity, natural gas, communications, and pulp and paper companies, with...

. She is considered by many to be the whistleblower
Whistleblower
A whistleblower is a person who tells the public or someone in authority about alleged dishonest or illegal activities occurring in a government department, a public or private organization, or a company...

 who helped to uncover the Enron scandal
Timeline of the Enron scandal
-1985:Kenneth Lay seized control in 1985 of HNG/Internorth created by the merger of Houston Natural Gas and the much larger and more diversified InterNorth, which combined four natural gas pipeline companies, Northern Natural Gas, Transwestern Pipeline, Florida Gas Transmission, and Houston...

 in 2001.

It has been remarked that her actions cannot be considered whistleblowing in a strict sense, because she only wrote a concerned internal email message to Enron CEO Kenneth Lay
Kenneth Lay
Kenneth Lee "Ken" Lay was an American businessman, best known for his role in the widely reported corruption scandal that led to the downfall of Enron Corporation. Lay and Enron became synonymous with corporate abuse and accounting fraud when the scandal broke in 2001...

 warning him of potential whistleblowers in the company and pointing out that there were misstatements in the financial reports. Her memo did not reach the public until five months after it was written. Dan Ackman argued in Forbes Magazine and in the Wall Street Journal that, for this reason, her actions did not constitute whistleblowing and actually helped provide legal cover for Lay.

She testified before committees of the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate at the beginning of 2002 and was selected as one of three "People of the Year
Person of the Year
Person of the Year is an annual issue of the United States newsmagazine Time that features and profiles a person, couple, group, idea, place, or machine that "for better or for worse, ...has done the most to influence the events of the year."- History :The tradition of selecting a Man of the Year...

 2002" by Time
Time (magazine)
Time is an American news magazine. A European edition is published from London. Time Europe covers the Middle East, Africa and, since 2003, Latin America. An Asian edition is based in Hong Kong...

. (The two whistleblowers who joined her as "People of the Year" were Cynthia Cooper of WorldCom and Coleen Rowley
Coleen Rowley
Coleen Rowley is a former FBI agent and whistleblower, and was a Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party candidate for Congress in Minnesota's 2nd congressional district, one of eight congressional districts in Minnesota in 2006...

 of the FBI.)

Watkins was born in Tomball, Texas
Tomball, Texas
Tomball is a city in Harris county in the U.S. state of Texas, a part of the Houston metropolitan area. The population was 9,089 at the 2000 census. In 1907, the community of Peck was renamed Tomball. The city are named for local congressman Thomas Henry Ball, who had a major role in the...

. She had joined Enron in 1993, having worked for Arthur Andersen
Arthur Andersen
Arthur Andersen LLP, based in Chicago, was once one of the "Big Five" accounting firms among PricewaterhouseCoopers, Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu, Ernst & Young and KPMG, providing auditing, tax, and consulting services to large corporations...

 the previous eight years. She departed from Enron in November 2002. Since then she has been giving speeches at management congresses and has co-written a book about her experiences at Enron and the problems of the US corporate culture.

Watkins holds a Bachelor of Business Administration (with honors) from the University of Texas, where she was a member of Alpha Chi Omega
Alpha Chi Omega
Alpha Chi Omega is a women's fraternity founded on October 15, 1885. Currently, there are 135 chapters of Alpha Chi Omega at colleges and universities across the United States and more than 200,000 lifetime members...

 sorority, and a Masters of Professional Accounting. She is a Certified Public Accountant
Certified Public Accountant
Certified Public Accountant is the statutory title of qualified accountants in the United States who have passed the Uniform Certified Public Accountant Examination and have met additional state education and experience requirements for certification as a CPA...

 (CPA).

Books

  • Mimi Swartz with Sherron Watkins: Power Failure. The Inside Story of The Collapse of Enron, ISBN 0385507879 (March 2003)

Film

  • Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room
    Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room
    Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room is a 2005 documentary film based on the best-selling 2003 book of the same name by Fortune reporters Bethany McLean and Peter Elkind, a study of one of the largest business scandals in American history...

    . 2005. IMDB Includes personal interviews with Sherron Watkins.
  • The Crooked E: The Unshredded Truth About Enron
    The Crooked E: The Unshredded Truth About Enron
    The Crooked E: The Unshredded Truth About Enron is a television movie aired by CBS in January 2003, which was based on the book Anatomy of Greed by Brian Cruver...

    . 2003. Portrayed as a staff accountant who nervously alerts Lay of the misstatements.

External links