Episode 35: Enron Part IV - Blowing the Whistle with Sherron Watkins [SEASON FINALE]

Thursday, April 22nd 2021 | 01:12:45

It’s our last episode for this season and for our big finale we talk about the sinking of the Titanic of companies: Enron! The tech bubble burst and changed the game. Journalists began to ask questions and Enron went from ferocious beast to wounded prey. We have our first whistleblower in the show, Sherron Watkins! Who is she? How did she get into Enron? How did she end up as a whistleblower? And finally, we see how white-collar crime can be life-threatening and extremely detrimental to its victims. 


(03:36) - From predator to prey -  Bethany McLean starts asking questions. Journalists and other investors are seeing blood and they are hungry. 

(12:26) -  Introducing Sherron Watkins, who shares with us her experience at Enron. But first, who was Sherron before Enron? How was it like to work for Arthur Andersen?

(19:57) - “Enron felt more sophisticated, a little more polished,” getting into Enron, her experience as a female executive and meeting the “big guys.”

(28:31) - The bright and ambitious “buzz saw” Sherron Watkins tells us about the projects she worked on at Enron and running accross the raptors.

(41:12) -  Pointing the iceberg to the captain with selective blindness - The confusion, the letter, learning more about the fraud, getting evidence together and getting ignored…

(50:53) - Becoming the Whistleblower - Who failed? How did her letter get published? How did it feel to become a troublemaker for her own tribe?

(59:57) - The dog and pony show - Testifying in front of Jeff Skilling. “Things go wrong when smart people stop asking questions,” and some final words from Sherron. 

(1:07:23) - The level of evil - The catastrophic end of Enron and the inhumane priceacross the victims had to pay.


Bethany McLean on Twitter

Bethany McLean on LinkedIn

The Smartest Guys in the Room by Bethany McLean

Hotel Kenneth Laya lyrics

Sherron Watkins website

Show Contributors
  • The Last Podcast Network