U.S. court cracks down on Enron chiefs

Ruling could signal an end to ‘slap on the wrist’ penalties
By Shannon Klie
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 06/16/2006

The landmark court decision last month that saw Enron’s former chair and ex-CEO convicted of several counts of fraud, which could result in 20-year prison sentences for both men, signals a new ethical era in corporate accountability.

“What the jury said is that the CEO and the chairman are ultimately responsible for what happens in the company,” said Julie Freeman, president of International Association of Business Communicators (IABC), a San Francisco-based communications professional network. “Ultimately unethical behaviour won’t be tolerated and those responsible will be held accountable.”

However, Canadian courts still lag behind their United States counterparts in tough sentences for corporate malfeasance.