named restructuring consultant Stephen Cooper its interim CEO Tuesday, less than a week after longtime chief Ken Lay stepped aside amid the widening scandal at the fallen energy company.
Enron also named Cooper, who is managing partner of New York's Zolfo Cooper LLC, to a three-man Office of the Chief Executive, along with Jeff McMahon and Ray Bowen. McMahon, who had been financial chief, was named president and operating chief, while former treasurer Bowen was named chief financial officer.
Enron said it plans to "focus promptly" on naming a chairman to replace Lay, who had held that title before his resignation last week. Lay was for many years Enron's chairman and CEO before he ceded the CEO title to then-president Jeff Skilling at the start of 2001. But Lay came out of semiretirement to resume the top job when Skilling abruptly stepped down in August.
The company's stock subsequently collapsed as investors lost confidence in Enron's financial statements, and trading partners withdrew from the firm as they worried about its solvency. These events starved the company's cash-hungry core trading business of capital, resulting in the biggest U.S. bankruptcy filing ever.
With investors and employees having lost billions of dollars in the company's collapse, legislators and regulators are now probing the matter. Enron and its executives have been named as defendants in scores of lawsuits alleging that they knowingly falsified financial statements to reap windfall profits from selling shares. Meanwhile, the question of Enron's political ties has led to renewed scrutiny of campaign funding and disclosure rules.