named President and Chief Operating Officer Jeffrey K. Skilling to the post of chief executive, effective Feb. 12.

Skilling will succeed Kenneth L. Lay, who will continue to serve as chairman of the electricity, natural gas and communications company.

In addition to the new role, Skilling will maintain his current responsibilities at the company.

Shares of Enron, which is based in Houston, were recently down 25 cents, or 0.3%, to $76.94 in Big Board trading.