Thomas Cook, Enron, Lehman: The worst company collapses, bankruptcies

  • Thomas Cook’s bankruptcy — which stranded 600,000 passengers and ruined travel plans — is just one example of disastrous company collapses.
  • Lehman Brothers’ collapse wrecked the global economy and sunk the stock market. The Enron scandal showcased the lengths corporate financiers would go to defraud investors.
  • Here are 9 examples of harrowing corporate bankruptcies throughout world history.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

After a disastrous bankruptcy, British-based travel company Thomas Cook’s collapse has left 600,000 people stranded across the world. 

A Thomas Cook flight attendant said she found out she lost her job via Facebook. One man reported that a Tunisian resort was “holding travelers hostage” until they pay the money it said it was owed by Thomas Cook.

While corporate bankruptcies are often chaotic for employees and executives, the world’s worst company collapses have shaken up entire world markets. 

Read more: Passengers share vacation disasters from the Thomas Cook collapse, including a ruined $41,000 wedding and ‘being held hostage’ by angry staff at a Tunisian hotel

Lehman Brothers’ collapse helped push the global economy toward the financial crisis. Pan American World Airways’ bankruptcy shattered an global symbol of American travel. The Enron scandal showcased the lengths some corporate financers would go to defraud investors.

Earlier collapses —like the Medici Bank and the South Sea Company — became markers of their eras.

Here are 9 of world’s worst corporate downfalls of all time:


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