Enron promotes to veterans to top posts

Following the surprise resignation of Jeff Skilling as CEO and president 2 weeks ago, Enron Corp. Tuesday promoted two company veterans from its wholesale services group to help lead the Houston energy giant.

Greg Whalley was named president and chief operating officer, and Mark Frevert, vice-chairman. Whalley, 39, and Frevert, 46, will join Kenneth L. Lay, Enron’s chairman and CEO, in the office of the chairman.

Lay, who turned over CEO responsibilities to Skilling earlier this year, took the job back after Skilling, who helped turned the company into a trading powerhouse, departed.

Skilling cited personal reasons for his resignation. Both Skilling and Lay insisted his resignation was not a sign of more trouble to come at the company, which recently retrenched in its broadband services division and has been engaged in a well-publicized dispute with the Indian government over a power plant project. In addition to debts owed for power delivered in California, the company has also engaged in a running battle with California lawmakers over release of company documents.

Enron’s stock fell 6.2 per cent on record volume after Skilling’s unexpected announcement, and the company has been attempting to regain its footing and investor confidence since. Analysts were growing increasingly irritated with the company’s financial disclosure policies. During an April investor call, Skilling used a vulgar expression, after an analyst asked when a balance sheet would be available. Skilling later apologized.

Whalley most recently was president and chief operating officer of Enron Wholesale Services, the company’s gas, power, and nonenergy commodities trading division. He graduated from the US Military Academy and Stanford Graduate School of Business.

Prior to this promotion, Frevert had been chairman and CEO of Enron Wholesale Services. He joined Houston Natural Gas (an Enron predecessor company) in 1984.

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