Kenneth L. LayFounder, Chairman and CEO of Enron
Controversial, even in death. Lay died on July 5, 2006, just over a month after being convicted on 10 counts of fraud and conspiracy and three months before he could be sentenced for his role in Enron’s collapse. But the Houston broker declared his innocence to the end, sparking the question: dangerously naïve or criminally disingenuous? The business visionary’s affable persona took a blow during the trial as he sparred irritably with prosecutors and seemed to be in a power struggle with his own attorney under direct examination. Lay maintained his innocence as he declared that the company was in solid shape before it suffered “a crisis of confidence” from a string of bad press surrounding Enron’s CFO Andy Fastow.
"Without Andy Fastow, Enron would not have failed," Lay testified, adding that the most painful moment in his life was watching Enron go into bankruptcy. Houston power-broker Lay was born in 1942 in Tyrone, MO., the son of a Baptist minister.