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interviews
Joseph Berardino

A longtime partner with Arthur Andersen, Berardino became CEO of Andersen Worldwide in January 2001 and stepped down in March 2002 after the firm was indicted for obstruction of justice in the Enron investigation. He tells FRONTLINE that he believes the accounting profession is misunderstood by the general public, and that a new conceptual framework is needed if auditors are to communciate more effectively with investors. He answers questions about Andersen's conduct as Enron's auditor, and he speaks about the issues surrounding Andersen's role as both auditor and consultant; about the decision to invite Paul Volcker, the former Federal Reserve chairman, to head an oversight panel in an attempt to restructure Andersen as an audit-only firm; and about the timing of his own decision to step down.
Arthur Levitt

Chairman of the SEC from 1993 to 2000, Levitt says the Enron scandal is "symptomatic of a breakdown of the ethical values of business over a period of perhaps 20 years." He is very critical of what he calls "accounting hocus-pocus" or how companies have become more creative in their interpretations of accounting standards. In this interview, he describes the political heat he took during the three big accounting battles of the 1990s, and calls for an independent agency with subpoena power to oversee the accounting industry.
Sen. Joseph Lieberman

Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-Conn.) is chairman of the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee that has been holding hearings on the collapse of Enron. In 1994, he fought against the Financial Accounting Standards Board's proposal that companies estimate the value of employee stock options and list them on their balance sheets. Lieberman sponsored a resolution, passed by a Senate vote of 88-to-9, that recommended FASB leave the standard unchanged. He tells FRONTLINE that the expansion of stock options during the past two decades is one of the ways in which capitalism has been democratized in the U.S.
Harvey Pitt

Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission since August 2001, Pitt is a prominent lawyer who has represented Wall Street firms and the accounting industry. In this interview, he explains the reforms that the SEC is proposing under his leadership, including a Public Accountability Board with oversight authority over accounting firms. He also speaks to several issues that were at the center of political battles during the 1990s: the expensing of stock options, the tort-reform law of 1995, and the effort by his predecessor at the SEC, Arthur Levitt, to separate accounting firms' auditing and consulting practices.
Sarah Teslik

The executive director of the Council of Institutional Investors, an organization of large pension funds, Teslik says that Enron is a result of the deliberate erosion of securities laws intended to protect investors. Teslik tells FRONTLINE, "Every safety net designed to protect investors failed completely with Enron."
Lynn Turner

Turner was the chief accountant of the SEC from 1998 to 2001. Before that he served as CFO for Symbios Inc., an international manufacturer of semiconductors and storage solution products, and was a partner at Coopers & Lybrand (now PricewaterhouseCoopers). He is currently a professor of accounting at Colorado State University. In this interview, Turner describes how the mindset of the accounting industry has evolved from looking out for investors to looking out for business. He estimates that corporate restatements over the past six or seven years will cost investors over $200 billion.
Paul Volcker

Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board from 1979 to 1987, and current chairman of the oversight committee for the International Accounting Standards Board, Volcker was invited by Arthur Andersen, in the wake of the Enron scandal, to lead an oversight panel in an attempt to restructure Andersen as an audit-only firm. His efforts proved futile when it became clear that Andersen and the government would not reach a settlement and that Andersen would go to trial on charges of obstructing justice. Volker talks about the crisis he believes the accounting profession faces today, and about what is at stake for America's markets.

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