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Blindsided by Jonathan Gifford

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Banking on Gas

Skilling was normally described as not just bright, but ‘incandescently brilliant’. At his Harvard Business School MBA admissions interview, he was asked whether he considered himself smart. ‘I’m fucking smart,’ replied Skilling — which I think we can take as a ‘yes’. He graduated as a Baker Scholar, a distinction awarded to the top 5% of a class, and went straight to work for McKinsey & Company.2

Skilling’s epiphanic idea was this: that Enron should become a ‘gas bank’. Enron would enter into contracts with gas suppliers to buy gas, and enter into contracts with gas consumers to sell gas. It would make money from the difference between the price at which it bought and the price at which it sold, in exactly the way that banks make ...

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