You have to risk going too far to discover just how far you can really go.
A decade has passed since Enron disappeared into a sea of red ink, bitter tears, and spilled blood, and I still ask myself how in the world did I get myself tied to the mast of such a sinking ship? Let me further express myself in some of my favorite nautical terms. Before I agreed to board Enron, I had done my due diligence in long, detailed talks with its captain, its first mate, and its financial navigator. I inspected the strength of its hull, the sureness of the tiller, the timber of its boom, and the fabric of its great sails.
I found nothing, nothing, to raise a moment’s alarm. Then again, that’s so often how a voyage of the damned begins.
It started in 1995 when my friend, Ron Brown, then Secretary of Commerce, invited me to join him on a business trip to India. I was chairman of Alliance Capital Management International, which raised funds from investors all around the world. We had billions of dollars under management.
I was 57 years old. But I felt and acted 20 years younger; some even said I looked the part, too.
“Frank,” Ron said to me in the spring of 1995, “I’m taking a business delegation to India to try to promote business with the United States. Would you be interested in going?”
As luck would have it, I was on the verge of launching Alliance’s first India mutual fund, called Alliance 95. The prospect of going to India with ...