Bethany McLean (born December 12, 1970 in Hibbing, Minnesota) is a contributing editor to Vanity Fair magazine, and known for her work on the Enron scandal and the 2008 financial crisis. She had been an editor at large and columnist for Fortune and a contributor to Slate.
McLean grew up in Hibbing and received her BA in English and mathematics at Williams College in 1992. After college and prior to joining Fortune, she worked as an investment banking analyst for Goldman Sachs.
McLean married Chris Wilford in 2000. They divorced in 2006. In May 2008, McLean married Sean Berkowitz, a partner with the law firm, Latham & Watkins. Berkowitz is the former Director of the Enron Task Force; they met through their mutual connection to that case.
McLean joined Vanity Fair as a contributing editor in 2008. She joined Slate as a contributor to the Moneybox column in 2010.
McLean is the co-author, with Fortune colleague Peter Elkind, of The Smartest Guys in the Room (ISBN 1591840082), exposing the corrupt business practices of Enron officials. The book was the result of her reporting on Enron for the magazine and she first wrote about Enron with her article in the March 5, 2001 issue of Fortune entitled, "Is Enron Overpriced?". The book was later made into the Academy Award nominated documentary Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room. Her column, "The Bulldog", appeared regularly in Fortune.
She co-authored a book with New York Times columnist Joe Nocera on the 2008 financial crisis titled All the Devils Are Here, (November 2010). It details what happened and concludes it was not an accident, that banks understood the big picture before the crisis happened but continued with bad practices.
In September 2015, she published Shaky Ground: The Strange Saga of the U.S. Mortgage Giants which examines the governance and financial situation of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac seven years after the 2008 financial crisis.
McLean gave a talk at the RSA (Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce) in December 2010 where she outlined her history in the financial reporting and analysis fields and summarized some of the points in her book "All the Devils Are Here."
- "Is Enron Overpriced?". CNN. 2006-01-19.
- Columbia Global Reports, "Financial System's Top Risk, Hiding in Plain Sight" (Press Release, September 14, 2015), Accessed September 16, 2015
- "The Hidden History of the Financial Crisis". RSA Events. 2010-12-02.
- Bethany McLean at the Internet Movie Database
- Appearances on C-SPAN