Kenneth Lay, chairman and chief executive of bankrupt energy trader Enron until its collapse, has left the board of Compaq after 14 years.
With Enron under investigation by lawyers, Lay's continued board membership had become an embarrassment to Compaq. The firm has disclosed that he formally left the board on 31 December. He had also sold part of his Compaq shareholding in October.
Lay had been on Compaq's board since 1987, well before the dramatic rise of Enron. He was a strong proponent of Compaq's plans to merge with Hewlett Packard, which is itself running into opposition from investors and family members.
Lay had previously left the board of enterprise resource planning specialist i2 Technologies, also based in Texas, as well as pharmaceuticals giant Eli Lilly. He retains other directorships.
As a close friend of US President George W Bush he was involved in his administration's energy policy formulations and met with his number two, Dick Cheney, six times as recently as last Spring.
The US Department of Justice launched a criminal investigation of Enron last Thursday after it was disclosed that some of its top executives had sold shares at a high price just ahead of the company's collapse.
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