BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific
BBCi NEWS   SPORT   WEATHER   WORLD SERVICE   A-Z INDEX     

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: Business  
News Front Page
Africa
Americas
Asia-Pacific
Europe
Middle East
South Asia
UK
Business
E-Commerce
Economy
Market Data
Entertainment
Science/Nature
Technology
Health
-------------
Talking Point
-------------
Country Profiles
In Depth
-------------
Programmes
-------------
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
SERVICES
-------------
EDITIONS
Thursday, 25 July, 2002, 15:57 GMT 16:57 UK
Website unites Andersen workers
AndersenAlumni.net
The Andersen Alumni web site has 1,700 members

The rapid dismembering of disgraced accountancy firm Arthur Andersen has put many of its employees out of touch with their former colleagues.


I was kind of distraught over having seen a bunch of my close colleagues leaving on a daily basis

Jonathan Goldsmith,
website founder
For some, decades-long relationships ended in hasty departures when Andersen laid off thousands of staff after the firm's involvement in the Enron-accounting debacle ended its audit practice.

A web site - AndersenAlumni.net - has been established as way to help former Andersen employees stay in touch and help one another find work.

It is the brainchild of former Andersen consultant Jonathan Goldsmith, who along with about 7,000 others lost his job in April.

Keeping in touch

Mr Goldsmith cherished his job at Andersen. As a specialist in merger and acquisitions he often travelled three weeks out of every month.

When word began to leak in February that Andersen might be facing an investigation by the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Department of Justice, it turned his world upside down.

"Panic set in... and a lot of people started looking for other jobs," he says.

Shortly thereafter, Mr Goldsmith got laid off.

He wanted a way to keep in touch with the 15 to 20 colleagues he worked with on a daily basis at Andersen's Chicago headquarters.

"I was kind of distraught over having seen a bunch of my close colleagues leaving on a daily basis," Mr Goldsmith told BBC News Online.


A lot of people were hurt, and a lot of people want to put the Andersen experience behind them.

Jonathan Goldsmith
"It's very difficult to stay in touch with people," he says. "You say you're going to do it, but it becomes difficult. And I didn't want that to happen here."

He says he established the AndersenAlumni.net web site with the hope that his small group of friends would stay in touch, trading e-mails and posting stories on a discussion board.

Finding funding

But word soon spread about the site, which went live in April, and within days the site had hundreds of registered members.

"Word spread and people kept telling other people about it," he says.

The site now has about 1,700 members - about half of whom are in Chicago.

Mr Goldsmith along with a web-designer friend invested about $1,000 each in order to get the site up and running.

With its popularity, however, Mr Goldsmith is scrambling to find a way to pay monthly expenses to keep the site going.

One thing is certain, he says, he will not charge members a fee to sign up.

"It will always be free, and that's the way I want it to be," he says.

Mr Goldsmith is looking into finding corporate sponsors and advertisers as a way to defray costs.

Putting the past behind

One thing is certain. His former employer will not be putting up any cash for the web site's upkeep.

In his discussions with the human resources department, it became clear while Andersen saw little harm in the idea, it remained too busy from fallout from numerous accounting scandals to put the company's stamp of approval on the project.

"Everyone at Andersen was understandably looking out for their own careers," he says, adding they thought the site a great idea and would not stand in the way of it.

But Mr Goldsmith sees Andersen's non-involvement as a boon. If Andersen did back the idea, it might put some people off.

"A lot of people were hurt," he says. "And a lot of people want to put the Andersen experience behind them."


The trial

The disintegration

Background

IN-DEPTH
See also:

23 Jul 02 | Business
22 Jul 02 | Archive
17 Jun 02 | Business
Internet links:


The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Business stories are at the foot of the page.


E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Business stories

© BBC ^^ Back to top

News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |
Programmes