Enron was one of the biggest scandals to ever hit the business world. The failure of Lehman Brothers directly caused the financial crisis from which the United States is still feeling the effects. One would think that the directors of these failed firms – the worst failures in this decade – would have been punished by the market for their poor oversight.
Apparently not. This article indicates that many of directors on these failed companies have prospered quite nicely:
A few of the directors conveniently omit Enron from their biographies, but they do not appear to remain tainted, staying in their chosen professions…
The experiences of the Enron directors over the last decade would appear to offer great hope to the directors of Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers.
…the Bear and Lehman directors are returning to public company service even quicker than the Enron directors. In part this reflects the old boy network on Wall Street, which keeps people in the same positions because of friendships. It is not a coincidence that two former Bear Stearns directors serve on the Viacom board.
The trend also underscores the decline in the importance of reputation on Wall Street — even since the time of Enron. Prior bad conduct simply is often not viewed as a problem.
The fact that these people have done so well constitutes a potent illustration of the problem ailing the United States. Simply put, the corporate world is no longer in any sense accountable to succeeding or failing. CEOs like Mitt Romney can personally lead firms to ruin and yet still get paid incredibly handsome “golden parachutes.” Meanwhile inequality continues to increase at an inexorable rate and the economy continues to flounder.
Reading about the denizens of big business succeeding to this extent while America as a whole flounders really strikes a bone of contention with me. There are few words in the English language to describe the wrongness of what is happening – how people who singlehandedly fail at everything that they are supposed to do still get tens of millions of dollars.
Here is one: unjust.