Video "The Whole Truth"
December 1st, 1999
February 14th, 2002
|Former Enron Executive Vice President of
Human Resources and Community Relations, Cindy Kay Olson began
her career as an auditor in Kansas, but progressed to the
executive committee of a Fortune 50 organization.
Recognized as a change agent at Enron, Olson pioneered HR
innovations that brought national attention to the company.
For six years running, Enron was named "Most Innovative
Company" by Fortune Magazine. Enron became a trendsetter
in its day for everything from on-site daycare and a state
of the art Fitness Center to every employee being provided
a computer at home. Enron was billed as one of Fortune's "100
Best Companies to Work for in America" in 1999 and 2000
and praised for its innovative retirement plans, benefits
for employees and overall working conditions.
Yet, amidst great success, Olson's Enron career came to a
screeching halt when the company filed for bankruptcy in 2001
and lost investor confidence during revelations that the CFO
was stealing from the company through several off-balance
sheet partnerships. Several members of its executive hierarchy
were eventually indicted and convicted. To date however, all
but one of those convictions has been overturned and the remaining
conviction against Jeffrey Skilling is under appeal based
on Prosecutorial Misconduct.
Olson also found herself in the Enron spotlight as the first
executive committee member who testified before the U.S. Senate
and U.S. House of Representative hearings investigating the
Enron scandal. She was subpoenaed as a result of her answer
to the question in a 1999 all-employee meeting, "Should
I invest all of my 401(k) in Enron stock?" Olson was
also brought to the media forefront since Enron whistleblower
Sherron Watkins consulted Olson about her now famous letter
of allegations and Olson encouraged her to take them to Enron
Chairman of the Board Kenneth Lay.
Criminal charges were never brought against Olson. However,
she and other members of the administrative committee and
the Enron Board of Directors settled a civil suit in 2004.
The U.S. Department of Labor continues investigating Olson's
finances yet today.
Now, Olson has authored the first book by a top Enron insider
telling her side of what happened. The book is titled "The
Whole Truth...So Help Me God---An Enlightened Testimony from
Inside Enron's Executive Offices" and will be released
in the summer of 2008.
Olson grew up in Wichita, Kansas, where she eventually met
and married her college sweetheart, Grady Olson. She earned
a bachelor's degree in accounting from Wichita State University.
From there Olson took a job at Koch Oil working several years
as a crude oil accountant before joining Pizza Hut as an auditor.
In 1979 she joined the auditing department of InterNorth in
Omaha, Nebraska, which ultimately became a part of Enron in
At Enron Olson saw frequent promotions. She advanced in various
management capacities within Enron's interstate pipeline companies,
including vice president for Enron's gas accounting and gas
measurement functions and vice president for finance, planning
and administration for Transwestern Pipeline. She was then
promoted to vice president of wholesale operations services
for Enron Capital and Trade Resources (ECT), where she was
responsible for deal capture, documentation, risk management
administration, logistics and client services for wholesale
operations. Later Olson moved to corporate leading Enron's
community relations function before being promoted to Enron's
As a member of Enron's executive committee, she received the
title of executive vice president of human resources and community
relations. Olson's responsibilities included overseeing Enron's
large global human resources organization and all activities
associated with corporate giving, memberships and volunteerism,
as well as directing Enron's elementary and secondary educational
initiatives and many community initiatives in the city of
Houston and around the world.
Olson and her husband now make their home on a small family
acreage with their four dogs near Aspen, Colorado.