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Does Kenneth Lay deserve to appear on the cover? asks a reader. Another letter to the editor: more reasons for Krispy Kreme's current situation.
CFO Staff, CFO Magazine
July 1, 2005
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I was excited when I first heard that my favorite doughnut place was going public. Having been brought up on glazed and "kreme"-filled Krispy Kremes, I knew the company couldn't miss...and it looked OK for a while ("Kremed!" June).
T.W. Smith ran the local Krispy Kreme shop in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, in the 1950s and 1960s. He sponsored my bowling team, and we were proud to wear the red, green, and white logo on our shirts.
Your article doesn't mention what turned me against Krispy Kreme. The best product made by KK was the vanilla kreme-filled, glazed doughnut. We moved to Houston in 1985, and at least once a year revisited the Tuscaloosa Krispy Kreme to once again taste the delicious fare. We were very happy when KK came to Houston.
When we began visiting Houston Krispy Kremes, seeking our favorite variety, most of the managers would fill some for us, as they did not regularly carry it. I wrote and called and visited, and even asked on a Webcast why the best product, the one KK became famous for, was not on the regular menu and not promoted. No one seemed to know.
Our favorite variety of doughnut was one reason for Krispy Kreme's success in Tuscaloosa. The other was Mr. Smith's devotion to his product, his customers, and the community. Both the company-owned and franchised locations lack this dedication.
Having an accounting degree, I understand the financial problems of KK, but I think the reasons I mentioned above contributed just as much to the company's current situation.
One Picture, Two Conclusions
Your magazine should be embarrassed to feature Kenneth Lay on its cover ("What Does Your CEO Really Know?" May). After he stole $165 million from Enron shareholders, the only place I want to see Lay is behind bars in a D.O.C. orange jumpsuit.
Great cover on the May issue. You accurately display the essence of Kenneth Lay: evil, smug, greedy wrongdoer. Thanks.
The "Limits of Mercy" (April 2005) incorrectly stated that the SEC brought fraud charges against former Electro Scientific Industries general counsel John E. Isselmann Jr. (whose name was also misspelled in the article). The SEC brought (and subsequently settled) an enforcement action against Isselmann in relation to fraud charges the commission filed against the company's CFO and controller, but Isselmann himself was not charged with fraud or involvement in the fraud.