Enron whistleblower to address Southeastern at Livingston Ethics Lecture
Contact: Rene Abadie
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HAMMOND – The “Enron Whistleblower” – the individual who initiated a cascade of actions resulting in the toppling of one of the world’s largest corporations – will deliver Southeastern Louisiana University’s James and Evelyn Livingston Lecture in ethics April 19.
Sherron Watkins, the former vice president of corporate development at the Houston-based energy trading company, will deliver the lecture in the Student Union Theatre at 7 p.m. Sponsored by the College of Business, the event is free and open to the public.
While at Enron, a company she joined in 1993, Watkins alerted Enron Chief Executive Officer Ken Lay to accounting irregularities in the company’s financial reports. At the time, she gave no thought to the personal repercussions she would face and the incredible impact her discovery would have.
The “Enron Scandal,” as it would come to be known ended in the bankruptcy of the giant company in 2001 and also caused the downfall of one of the nation’s largest accounting firms, Arthur Anderson. For her actions, Watkins was recognized as one of three “Time Magazine” Persons of the Year in 2002. She testified before Congress and eventually co-authored the best selling book “Power Failure: The Inside Story of the Collapse of Enron.” An active public speaker, Watkins remains an outspoken voice against corporate greed and corruption.
“We are pleased to present someone with strong business ethics as this year’s lecturer,” said College of Business Dean Randy Settoon. “Ms. Watkins has set the tone for a new direction in corporate governance, responsibility and oversight. This is indeed a great opportunity for our students to hear from someone who served on the front lines of the corporate culture.”
The lecture series was founded in 1984 by Hammond businessman John O. Batson in memory of his long time friend and associate James Livingston. The lecture also honors Livingston’s wife Evelyn, who was an active community volunteer for many years.