From the outset, we said we would deal with these issues candidly and directly and that we would not shrink from our responsibilities. We recognized this as both our obligation and a necessary element of maintaining our trust with clients, regulators and the public.
Last month, we voluntarily went before Congress and stated that an error in judgement had been made by Andersen personnel. We also said that steps would be taken to prevent a recurrence of these events.
Since then, we have notified the U.S. Department of Justice, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, several committees in Congress and other government agencies that documents and e-mails relating to our work for Enron were disposed of by Andersen personnel.
We have subsequently recovered many of these documents from electronicsources and have provided the government with them.
We issued new, interim record retention policies and asked former Senator John Danforth to lead an independent review of our policies and to make recommendations for additional change and disciplinary action.
This week, we announced we will be dismissing Andersen’s lead partner on the Enron account and placed three other partners who worked on the assignment on administrative leave. We are also putting new leadership in charge of our Houston office and are relieving four partners of their management responsibilities. These were tough decisions, but they were absolutely necessary and appropriate.
We took these actions to make it perfectly clear to the public, our people, our clients, and the government that Andersen will do what is right. We also want there to be no mistake about Andersen’s willingness to take all appropriate steps necessary to maintain confidence in the integrity of our firm.
And this is just the beginning. In the near future, Andersen will announce comprehensive changes in our practices and policies that we believe will reaffirm confidence in the independence and quality of our work.
Without question, this is the most difficult and challenging episode in our firm’s history.
We also believe, however, that the ultimate test of an organisation’s character and resilience is how it responds to adversity – and how it emerges from the experience.
At Andersen, we will be a better, stronger firm as a result of these events.We will continue to cooperate with Congress and the government agencies investigating these matters and we will continue to communicate about our actions in an open and forthright manner.
In the meantime, we want to assure you that Andersen is giving these matters the serious and thorough attention they demand and that our 85,000 talented people around the world remain focused on the important work they do every day.
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