NEW YORK (AP) -- Arthur Andersen was hit with another wave of client defections, even as former Federal Reserve chairman Paul Volcker was offering a sweeping reform plan to try to save the company.
The mounting loss of clients has further complicated the accounting firm's efforts to survive the Enron scandal and a related criminal indictment for allegedly obstructing justice.
Volcker's reform proposals, announced Friday, include replacing top management and installing an independent board that he would head. He said the plan would succeed only if the federal indictment is dismissed and if a cap is placed on the firm's financial liability from the Enron scandal.
"All that has to come together to make this initiative viable and successful," Volcker said at a hastily arranged news conference.
Major clients that announced they were abandoning Andersen on Friday included Occidental Petroleum Corp., Waste Management Inc. and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. Abroad, the firm's New Zealand partners jumped to Big Five rival Ernst & Young.
Total defections now stand at more than 70 since the start of the year.
Volcker heads an oversight committee charged with making sweeping reforms at the firm. The changes he outlined Friday go much further than recommendations made by his committee earlier this month, which included a proposal to split Andersen's auditing from its consulting services.
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