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Power shift at Oklahoma City-based Chesapeake pushes average age of board higher

It is still unclear how the new Chesapeake Energy Corp. board will affect the Oklahoma City-based company's future.
by Jay F. Marks and Adam Wilmoth Modified: June 21, 2012 at 6:43 pm •  Published: June 21, 2012

Chesapeake Energy Corp. is under new management, but no one knows where the beleaguered company's new leadership will take it next.

The Oklahoma City energy company on Thursday announced five new directors, shifting control of the company's future away from its founder and into the hands of its largest shareholders.

Morningstar analyst Mark Hanson questioned whether the age of the new directors indicates a plan to sell the company.

New Chairman Archie Dunham is 73. Bob Alexander, 78, is just two years away from the board's mandatory retirement age. The average age of the five new directors is 67.

“Given Dunham's age, we're left wondering if his appointment doesn't signal a significant transaction of some kind in the near future — whether an outright sale of the company or perhaps a split into a few different assets that could be affected in short order and would then allow Dunham to step down with mission accomplished,” Hanson said.

Oppenheimer analyst Fadel Gheit said the new directors have been selected to make changes at Chesapeake, but it is still unclear exactly what shareholders — led by Southeastern Asset Management — are looking for.

“Is Chesapeake going to still be a going concern? Is Chesapeake going to be a much smaller company? Is Chesapeake going to be acquired by another company? Southeastern has made it clear that Chesapeake has strong assets, but at the end of the day, they have made it clear that all options are on the table, including the sale of the company,” Gheit said.

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by Jay F. Marks
Energy Reporter
Jay F. Marks has been covering Oklahoma news since graduating from Oklahoma State University in 1996. He worked in Sulphur and Enid before joining The Oklahoman in 2005. Marks has been covering the energy industry since 2009.
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by Adam Wilmoth
Energy Editor
Adam Wilmoth returned to The Oklahoman as energy editor in 2012 after working for four years in public relations. He previously spent seven years as a business reporter at The Oklahoman, including five years covering the state's energy sector....
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