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Tuesday, 29 January, 2002, 14:59 GMT
Enron names new executives
Zolfo Cooper website
Zolfo Cooper is a leader in US corporate restructuring
Energy group Enron has named a restructuring specialist as interim chief executive to try and lead it out of the US's largest ever bankruptcy.

It has also named new chief operating and financial officers.

Stephen Cooper, from the US restructuring firm Zolfo Cooper, replaces former Enron chairman and chief executive Kenneth Lay, who resigned last Wednesday.

"Cooper and his team are expected to begin working immediately with Enron's current management and its creditors committee on the company's continuing efforts to reorganize and emerge from bankruptcy," the company said in a statement.

Enron's president and chief operating officer Lawrence Whalley has also resigned and will be replaced by Jeff McMahon, who is currently chief financial officer.

Ray Bowen, who was formerly Enron's treasurer, has been promoted to executive vice president and chief financial officer.

Energetic restructuring

Mr Cooper has been involved in the restructuring of a number of troubled companies including appliance maker Sunbeam, retailer Federated Department Stores and construction group Morrison Knudsen.

"Our focus is on the future of Enron. With more than 19,000 employees worldwide, Enron has real businesses with real value," said Mr Cooper.

Zolfo Cooper website says Mr Cooper, formerly a partner at Touche Ross, has 30 years experience in restructuring corporations.

The third most senior executive at Zolfo Cooper, Leonard LoBiondo, was formerly manager at accountant Arthur Andersen, who were Enron's auditors.

The company's creditors pressured Mr Lay to step aside after it emerged that he had encouraged staff to keep buying shares months before the firm collapsed.

Mr Whalley has accepted a position with Swiss investment bank UBS Warburg as part of its agreement to acquire Enron's wholesale energy trading operations.

Senate hearings

Meanwhile, US Senate hearings into Enron's accounting practices were told by regulators extra powers would not have prevented the company's collapse.

The chairmen of both the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) told the hearing Enron's bankruptcy does not mean new laws are needed for the energy markets.

"It is not clear that giving the (FERC) commission additional authority within its current scope would prevent further Enron-like problems," FERC chairman Pat Wood said in statement to the Senate's Energy Committee.

The hearings are investigating the impact of Enron's bankruptcy on the US power markets and a government bill to restructure the $220bn wholesale electricity market.

The BBC's Mark Mardell
"We are going to hear a lot more claims and counter-claims"
The BBC's Nick Robinson
"It is about power, influence and money"
Holly Etlin of Deloitte and Touche
"Stephen will not shirk from taking decisions"
See also:

29 Jan 02 | Business
Cooper comes to Enron's rescue
29 Jan 02 | Business
Enron losses 'off the scale'
28 Jan 02 | Business
Cheney resists Enron probe
28 Jan 02 | UK Politics
Labour challenged over Enron links
14 Jan 02 | Business
Audit giants called to account
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