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Monday February 4 12:47 PM ET

AFL-CIO Asks SEC to Bar Enron Directors From Boards

By Kevin Drawbaugh

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The AFL-CIO called on federal regulators on Monday to bar directors of Enron Corp. from serving on other companies' boards, arguing the directors were ''substantially unfit'' for such duties.

Focusing on corporate governance issues dear to unions, the U.S. labor federation released a letter it wrote to Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Harvey Pitt citing ``imminent danger to workers' retirement savings.''

``The SEC must now investigate the role of each individual Enron director in the company's collapse and move to bar those responsible from other boards,'' AFL-CIO Secretary Treasurer Richard Trumka said in a statement.

The 66-union federation called for bans on all directors of Houston-based Enron except recently appointed William Powers and Raymond Troubh. Powers and Troubh were two of the co-authors of an internal inquiry report released on Saturday that examined the collapse of the former energy trading giant.

The third co-author, Herbert Winokur, was among 10 Enron directors who should be barred from boards on which they serve, including Owens Corning, Comdisco Inc., Motorola Inc., ImClone Systems Inc. and Qualcomm Inc., the AFL-CIO said.

``In our view, the fundamental failures of the Enron directors to exercise their legal mandate to protect the interests of Enron shareholders demonstrates the Enron directors' substantial unfitness to serve as an officer or director,'' Trumka wrote in the letter to Pitt.

SEC spokeswoman Christi Harlan declined to comment. ``We haven't had a chance to see the letter yet,'' she said.

The AFL-CIO said the SEC has the power to ask a court to issue a ``substantial unfitness bar order'' against directors.

Spokespersons for the directors of Enron could not immediately be reached for comment.

The internal report released on Saturday, known as the Powers Report, faulted Enron's directors for not paying closer attention to questionable financial dealings that led Enron on Dec. 2 to file the largest bankruptcy in U.S. history.

The AFL-CIO, along with the British Trades Union Congress, called on Britain's Institute of Chartered Accountants to probe whether Lord John Wakeham breached professional and ethical standards in his role as an Enron director.

Wakeham said last week he was stepping aside temporarily as chairman of Britain's Press Complaints Commission to answer questions about his links to Enron.

Trades Union Congress General Secretary John Monks said, ''As a member of (Enron's) audit and compliance committee, Lord Wakeham has some very hard questions to answer. The ICA must ask whether its rules and standards were breached.''

In addition to Winokur and Wakeham, other Enron directors named by the AFL-CIO in its request included Robert Belfer, Ronnie Chan, John Duncan, Wendy Gramm, Robert Jaedicke, former Enron Chairman Kenneth Lay, John Mendelsohn and Frank Savage. 


“The greatest danger in times of turbulence is not turbulence; it is to act with yesterday’s logic”. — Peter Drucker

The shift from manual workers who do as they are being told — either by the task or by the boss — to knowledge workers who have to manage themselves ↓ profoundly challenges social structure

Managing Oneself is a REVOLUTION in human affairs.” … “It also requires an almost 180-degree change in the knowledge workers’ thoughts and actions from what most of us—even of the younger generation—still take for granted as the way to think and the way to act.” …

… “Managing Oneself is based on the very opposite realities: Workers are likely to outlive organizations (and therefore, employers can’t be depended on for designing your life), and the knowledge worker has mobility.” ← in a context




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