Lay said in a released statement Wednesday night, ”This was a decision the board and I reached in cooperation with our creditors’ committee.”
“I want to see Enron survive, and for that to happen we need someone at the helm who can focus 100 percent of his efforts on reorganizing the company and preserving value for our creditors and hard-working employees.”
Lay said that the federal investigations and civil suits filed against him and Enron’s executives were distracting him from fulfilling his management responsibilities. Lay explained that the company needed a chief executive who could be fully devoted to repairing the bankrupt company and rebuilding shareholder value.
Kenneth Lay, once considered a pioneer of the deregulated energy markets, had been requested to testify in front of several congressional committees. The House Energy and Commerce Committee begins hearings on Enron tomorrow with testimony by former Arthur Andersen employees.
Enron’s board and its creditor’s committee, which is working to restructure its debt, said they would select a restructuring specialist who would also act as its chief executive officer in order to manage its operations and help the company emerge from bankruptcy.
The company has not announced who will replace Kenneth Lay as the board’s chairman or company chief executive.