Mark quits Enron board
Rebecca Mark has resigned from the board of Enron Corporation, barely a year after taking up the post. She has also quit her role as chairman and chief executive of Azurix, the $1 billion global water company set up two years ago. Ms Mark, aged 46, had been with Enron since 1982 and was described as one of the highest-profile woman executives in America. Her resignation follows a steep fall in the stock price of Houston-based Azurix. From a launch value of around $19, the stock price currently stands at about $5. Enron, one of the world's leading electricity, natural gas and communications companies with global assets worth some $46 billion, established Azurix two years ago to exploit the worldwide move towards water privatisation. Ms Mark was put in charge and was subsequently appointed to the parent company's board. Ms Mark's strategy is understood to have revolved around heavy investment in capital-intensive hard assets including generating facilities, pipelines and distribution networks. She acquired water companies or concessions in the UK, Argentina, India, Bolivia and Mexico and formed a Brazilian joint venture. Enron chairman and chief executive Kenneth L. Lay, who paid tribute to Ms Mark's contribution, also said that Azurix had "chewed up" a lot of Enron capital. In parallel with Ms Mark's activities, her former colleague Jeffrey Skilling moved the company into new areas of business, notably the trading of gas and electricity in North America and the management of risk in a variety of utility products – its own and those of others. Mr Skilling is now widely perceived as heir apparent to Mr Lay.