1 minute read

Milton Scott

Grew Telecom Division

Two years passed and Scott revised his plans about law school. "I was doing well at the firm," he said. "I was promoted to senior accountant and was preparing to become a CPA, but I did a cost-benefit analysis and determined that I hadn't put enough money away. If I stayed at Andersen for three more years I could become a manager and earn more." Scott was promoted to senior accountant in 1979. He became an audit manager in 1982, earned several other promotions through the years, and in 1990 he became the first African-American partner in the audit practice at Arthur Andersen.

One of Scott's many accomplishments at Andersen was the creation of the Technology and Communications division. Many other accounting firms had a large presence in this sector and were way ahead of Arthur Andersen in the region. Scott had responsibility for building the southwest region. "We opened an office in Austin, Texas, and grew the regional practice to a very large P&L and a staff of 150 in three years," Scott told CBB.

Scott never planned to leave Arthur Andersen. But some offers are difficult to refuse. As he chaired a dinner one evening, Chuck Watson, CEO of Dynegy, one of the fastest-growing energy companies in Houston, heard Scott speak and was impressed. He submitted Scott's name to a search firm he had hired to find an African American for the position of chief administrative officer at his company; Scott declined the offer. Watson then contacted Scott personally. Realizing it would be diplomatic to at least discuss the matter since Dynegy was a client of Arthur Andersen, Scott met with Watson. "What I didn't know at the time was Chuck Watson doesn't take 'no' for an answer, and I realized it was a great opportunity," Scott said. "Here was a chance to go in as an executive vice president at a Fortune 500 company reporting directly to the chairman and CEO. I ended up being the highest-ranking African American in corporate Houston. I didn't see any downside to it; there was a huge upside."

Additional topics

Brief BiographiesBiographies: Paul Anthony Samuelson (1915– ) Biography to Bessie Smith (1895–1937) BiographyMilton Scott Biography - Never Gave Up Despite Misgivings, Grew Telecom Division, Gained Entrepreneurial Experience At Dynegy