If a PR strategy is reflective of an overall business plan, then
it's no wonder Enron's stock is trading at 53 cents with former
employees putting out bounties on top execs' heads.
The bulls-eye on the most dartboards, former CEO Jeff Skilling, who
cashed out when the stock was trading in the fifties, gave his first
public interviews last week, denying any wrongdoing that led to the
goofiest bankruptcy of all time. Reminiscent of the well-known song by
Shaggy, Skilling seemed to be saying over and over to reporters from the
Houston Chronicle and The New York Times, "It wasn't me."
The Shaggy song contains such lines as, "But she caught me on
camera ... wasn't me." And the denials of Skilling - whose whereabouts
have been as mysterious as Sasquatch - hold about as much water.
But at least he can be praised for consistency. His denial-rich PR
strategy seems to be right in line with the way he ran Enron, as he was
quoted saying, "I had no idea the company was in anything but excellent
shape." Uh, you were the CEO, right?
Here's another line from the song: "Heard the screams getting
louder ... wasn't me." And with 4,000 vociferous Enron employees now on
the street, Skilling's admission that "the last two months have been the
worst of my life" haven't quite provided him with the sympathy he
perhaps courted. He even admitted losing 14 pounds during that time
period. (No doubt running from the SEC and fired workers helps burn a
PRWeek is just wondering if Skilling will come out with a new verse of
honesty or continue his chorus of denial, "They think I stole a lot of
money... wasn't me... Think I ruined the company...wasn't me... Even say
I acted sleazy...wasn't me."