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CEO Aubrey McClendon remains confident in Chesapeake's future

Chesapeake Energy Corp. co-founder Aubrey McClendon is stepping down as chief executive, but he remains confident in the company's future.
BY JAY F. MARKS Modified: January 29, 2013 at 10:30 pm •  Published: January 29, 2013

Aubrey McClendon is stepping down as the only chief executive in the history of Chesapeake Energy Corp., but that hasn't dimmed his expectations for the company's future.

And the company's chairman Tuesday assured its 12,000 employees Chesapeake is not for sale, nor does it intend to curtail its operations or eliminate perks like on campus child care and restaurants.

“The board and management believe strongly in the culture of excellence at Chesapeake and are committed to seeing this culture thrive in the future,” Archie W. Dunham wrote.

McClendon, 53, will retire from Chesapeake on April 1, but he will continue to serve as its chief executive until his successor is identified.

“I have the utmost confidence in you and the company's future,” McClendon wrote in an email to employees Tuesday, “and I will always treasure the time we have spent together building Chesapeake into the unique and dynamic company that it is today.”

McClendon's reign at the company he co-founded ends in turmoil, as Chesapeake's board and federal regulators investigate how he mixed personal and company business. Chesapeake also is being scrutinized by the U.S. Department of Justice and Michigan officials for potential antitrust violations involving lease sales there in 2010.

The company's troubles led to a shareholder revolt last year, resulting in McClendon being replaced as chairman by former Conoco executive Dunham amid a board makeover led by Chesapeake's two largest shareholders.

McClendon acknowledged “certain philosophical differences” with the board led to his decision to retire, but he told employees the separation will be amicable.

Greater Oklahoma City Chamber Executive Director Roy Williams said he was saddened to hear of McClendon's plan to retire.

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