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Mixed Signals: Cheering & Jeering from Fortune and Others

In the wake of the largest corporate bankruptcy the world had ever known, Enron ultimately became a tale of human tragedy forged from financial loss.  There was also a great dichotomy in their downfall: The company collapsed approximately three weeks after being named the world’s seventh largest company for energy and power source.  Furthermore, global business magazine Fortune had at that point named Enron “America’s Most Innovative Company” for six consecutive years, while at the same time, the very same publication began to formally question the ambiguity of the Enron’s financial statements.  

Whether that inherent conflict is a product of miscommunication between Fortune’s own departments or a natural result of the intentionally confusing financial shell game that Enron was operating, remains unclear.  What is clear, however, is that the mixed signals in the marketplace prevented nearly all analysts and non-executive Enron employees from seeing the scale and scope of Enron’s failing financial health.  All except for one, that is.

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