Enron Connections Drive UK Press Watchdog from Office

01 February 2002

Lord John Wakeham - Conservative peer, pillar of the British Establishment, qualified accountant, political fixer and chairman of the nation’s Press Complaints Commission - vacated the latter position on Thursday following a tidal wave of criticism over his links with disgraced US energy giant Enron.

Wakeham, a non-executive director of Enron, received $122,000 in 2001 for his services plus some $6,000 monthly in consultancy fees for enlightening the group on European business opportunities. His relationship with the company dates back to the 1980s when he served as energy secretary in the Thatcher government.

In addition to his high profile press duties and serving the interests of Enron, which included a seat on its audit and compliance committee, the energetic 69 year-old also shoehorns in directorships of N M Rothschild & Sons, Bristol and West, Kalon, Vosper Thornycroft, Rothschilds Continuation Holdings (Switzerland), Michael Page International and Genner Holdings, a Wakeham family-owned provider of consultancy and management services.

His abdication from the PCC was “a matter of honour”, said his Lordship, and merely temporary pending the outcome of the Enron inquiries. According to a spokesperson, Wakeham “was co-operating fully with all inquiries but could not comment until they were complete”. He is currently in Washington for meetings with investigators.

News source: Financial Times