Best Whistle-Blower - 2003
Readers' Choice: Wayne Dolcefino
Call it big-time seller's remorse. Former Coastal Corporation CEO Oscar Wyatt Jr. voted as a board member to sell the company for $22 million to El Paso Corporation in 2001, then decided he'd made a big mistake. He became the lead plaintiff in a shareholders' suit alleging the management of El Paso violated federal securities laws. Wyatt took out full-page newspaper ads skewering El Paso management and then led an attempt to oust the executives at an El Paso shareholders meeting in Houston. Wyatt and shareholder Selim Zilkha spent $6 million on the effort but ultimately lost the fight when the shareholders stuck with the old order.