Former Enron Chief Executive Jeff Skilling is out of prison after 12 years. And he’s getting the old gang back together again.
Just when you thought the world of business couldn’t get more anymore ethically sound, and just when you thought you weren't going to get any more surefire signs of a market top, Jeff Skilling is recruiting his old friends and colleagues and "looking to get back in the energy business", according to a WSJ report.
But that isn’t even the best part - according to the report, Skilling has already landed an investment from former Enron executive and local strip club rewards member Lou Pai who, after selling hundreds of millions of dollars worth of Enron stock before the company collapsed, somehow avoided jail time or any kind of major legal repercussions, outside of a paltry $31.5 million settlement.
Pai was formerly the head of Enron's energy services unit and has already pledged to invest in the venture. Pai is reportedly reintroducing Skilling to the business world as a "friendly courtesy" after remaining in touch with Skilling following Enron’s demise and speaking to him while he was in prison, the report says.
Skilling's new project is said to be a digital platform that connects investors to oil and gas projects. Skilling has also reportedly met with individuals who specialize in cryptocurrency and blockchain because - well, because of course he has.
As the WSJ notes, the exact nature of the project is "something of a mystery", with the people briefed saying it was at an early stage. What is known, and probably will not come as a surprise considering Skilling's background, he "has met with individuals who specialize in cryptocurrency, blockchain and software development in recent weeks."
Perhaps Skilling is hoping to hold California electricity as ransom in exchange for a bitcoin payment made to an unknown address?
But we digress. The former Enron executive is situated in a new office in Houston and nondisclosure agreements have been signed between him and potential partners in his new project. Skilling is said to have began working on his new project while serving six months at a Texas halfway house, before being set free again. He has met with more than two dozen former Enron executives, according to the report, which says he has been met with a "warm reception".
As part of a judgement with the SEC, Skilling is permanently barred from serving as an officer or director of a public company. Pai, who was referred to as "the invisible CEO" in Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room has no such bar.
We’re sure that bankers, hedge funds and anybody else who can be complicit in this new venture are eager to line up and collect their fees from what is likely going to be a "disruptive" presence in the energy industry. We can't wait to see how it turns out.