Andy Fastow was the Chief Financial Officer of Enron Corp. from 1998 – 2001. In 2004, he pled guilty to two counts of securities fraud, and was sentenced to six years in federal prison. He completed his sentence in 2011, and now lives with his family in Houston, Texas. Andy currently provides litigation support at a law firm, and he consults with Directors, attorneys, and hedge funds on how best to identify potentially critical finance, accounting, compensation, and cultural issues.
Andy received a BA in Economics and Chinese from Tufts University and an MBA in Finance from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University. Prior to joining Enron, he was a Senior Director in the Asset Securitization Group at Continental Bank N.A.
Since his release from prison, Andy has been a guest lecturer at universities and corporations, and at conferences for management, corporate directors, attorneys, accountants, and certified fraud examiners. Andy was recently keynote speaker at the United Nations’ Principles of Responsible Management Education Conference, the FBI’s Advanced Financial Crimes Seminar, the Association of Certified Fraud Examiners Annual Conference, the American Accounting Association Annual Conference, and the Financial Times’ Outstanding Directors Conference.
- Rules Vs Principles
When is it acceptable to engage in a transaction that technically complies with the rules, but that may be misleading? Can a transaction that technically complies with the rules be considered unethical or illegal? Is it ever appropriate to depart from GAAP or IFRS? Andy will cite examples of such transactions at major companies, he will discuss the rationalizations made by executives to justify their decisions, and he will discuss examples of how these decisions can cause great harm to stakeholders.
- Why Does Enron Keep Happening?
Enron’s implosion was caused by a Culture problem, not a Compliance problem. Yet, the Human Resources Group at Enron, the people charged with managing culture, thought that everything was fine. Employee surveys showed that Enron’s work environment was great and improving. There were neither objections nor complaints from the employees. Enron was inundated by job applicants. The HR Group won national awards for its employee manual, visions and values statement, and training programs. Yet, in just a four-month span, Enron imploded and declared bankruptcy, destroying $40 billion of shareholder wealth and retirement savings, and resulting in tens of thousands of lost jobs at Enron, Arthur Andersen, and other companies. Corporate disasters keep happening, from Enron, to the financial crisis, to General Electric today, and to hundreds of companies in between. Fastow discusses the common thread of all of these disasters; the phenomenon that HR, Senior Management, and Directors keep missing.