June 27, 2002

Playboy's 'Women of Enron' Debuts in Houston

By REUTERS

Filed at 8:02 a.m. ET

HOUSTON (Reuters) - Playboy magazine has turned its cameras -- and airbrushes -- on the women of Enron , the energy company that went bust after admitting it had smoothed over its figures.

Playboy on Wednesday introduced the stars of its ``Women of Enron'' issue, current and former employees of the Houston energy trading giant who show their stuff in an issue set to hit newsstands nationally on Friday.

Four of the 10 women featured in the photo spread appeared at a news conference Wednesday across the street from the corporate headquarters of Enron Corp., which filed the largest-ever U.S. bankruptcy last year after its cooked books exploded.

The four also appeared in front of the Enron offices by the ubiquitous ``crooked E'' sign -- in a clothed reprise of the picture that leads off the photo layout. Enron's secretive accounting prompted calls for greater corporate disclosure -- and it comes in 10 full-color pages in Playboy's August issue.

The 10 models were culled from among more than 300 who auditioned with Playboy, the flagship and namesake for Chicago-based adult media conglomerate Playboy Enterprises Inc.

Taria Reed, a database coordinator who appears in naught but a yellow scarf, said she posed for herself -- and also to show that people are still working hard every day at what's left of Enron.

``Not everybody is crying. I'm very, very sorry for the situation that brought us here, but this is a good thing. And there are still good things going on at 1400 Smith,'' she said, referring to Enron's address.

The now-familiar gleaming silver towers that Enron calls home appear in the photo spread as a background for a naked Shari Daugherty, an Enron computer security administrator. Daugherty, who posed nude on the roof of a neighboring parking garage, said she has no regrets about her work for Enron or Playboy.

``I think both associations are fine. People know that Enron had the creme de la creme when they hired them,'' she said, adding that she thinks Playboy's reputation is classy.

ENRON PAYS OFF

Unlike many of their less-fortunate colleagues, none of the four lost all of their retirement savings. Reed in fact said she sold her stock options for a large profit, back when Enron shares were well above their current penny-stock range.

``Enron was very good to me, and still is good to me,'' she said.

None would say how much Playboy paid, although former Enron energy services sales executive Janine Howard said it was no contest between employers for her.

``Enron paid better, hands down. It was six figures,'' said Howard, a licensed pilot who appears half-clad in the cockpit of single-engine plane.

Reed and Daugherty said they expect to sign their share of autographs, since they have heard around the office the rampant scuttlebutt about who would appear in the magazine. Reed, Daugherty, Howard and Courtnie Parker, a former Enron recruiter who bared only her derriere, will sign autographs on Thursday at a Houston bookstore.


Copyright 2002 Reuters Ltd.