As the ongoing saga of Enron continues to unfold, board members are jumping ship. Among them is Frank Savage, who severed his ties with the energy trading giant in late May.
At the time of his resignation, Savage says Enron had already made significant progress carrying out management and board changes. “I feel comfortable about the fact that I’ve helped the company get through this very challenging transition period from bankruptcy to trying to return to some level of normalcy,” he says.
Savage says that another reason for his resignation was the desire to focus his attention on the Africa Millennium Fund, a private equity fund that will invest in sub-Saharan infrastructure projects. However, some associated with the companies for which Savage serves as director were unhappy with his affiliation with Enron.
Savage, who serves on the boards of several corporations, found himself under fire by Institutional Shareholder Services. The Rockville, Maryland-based investor advisory organization recommended that Lockheed Martin Corp. shareholders withhold votes from Frank Savage’s re-election to the defense contractor’s board of directors at the company’s annual meeting in April. The argument was that Lockheed Martin’s board, including Savage, failed in their duties by not preventing the scandalous dealings of members of Enron’s management. Despite this, Savage was re-elected with over 70% of the vote.
Savage spent 28 years with Equitable Life and eight years as chairman of Alliance Capital Management International. During that time, he was named one of BE’s Top 50 Blacks in Corporate America. He left Alliance in 2001 to create Savage Holdings L.L.C., which manages the Africa Millennium Fund (see “Going Solo,” Newspoints, February 2002).
“I’m pleased to say that the fund is moving ahead very satisfactorily in our fundraising efforts and in the refinement of our investment strategies and policies,” Savage says. “We are optimistic about closing the fund in 2002, and we are looking forward to setting up operations in Africa and beginning to invest in the infrastructure sectors which we have identified.”
Savage was elected to the Enron board in October 1999 and was a member of its finance committee while the Houston-based energy trading company was violating accounting ethics. He also serves on the boards of San Diego-based Qualcomm Corp., a wireless technology company, and Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. Savage is chairman of the board of Howard University in Washington, D.C.