Chesapeake Senior Vice President Tom Price will leave the company May 3 and plans to continue working with Chesapeake co-founder and former CEO Aubrey McClendon, who left the company earlier this week.
Price, 61, is head of Chesapeake's corporate development and government relations efforts. He said he and his wife plan to “travel extensively for some time.”
But don't expect him to drift off into retirement.
Price already has an office lined up in Harvey Parkway, the building down the street from Chesapeake where McClendon has leased office space under the name Arcadia Capital, a corporate entity created in January.
“Aubrey has kindly offered to provide me with an office, and I have accepted,” Price told The Oklahoman on Wednesday. “Aubrey and I have worked really well together on trying to do things that benefit Oklahoma City. I think we can continue to do that and hopefully enhance the prosperity of the state as well.”
Price said it is still not clear exactly what he will do in the future.
“That's not defined at this point,” he said. “We are just trying to see what there is to do, what it is that the city lacks, where we can do something together that will be value-added for all. Sometimes it takes time to step away and really figure that out.”
Price declined to comment on terms of his departure from Chesapeake. But he praised the company's leadership, especially interim CEO Steve Dixon.
“I have a sense of great pride and confidence in the future of the company,” Price said. “This company has some incredible people working for it. Steve Dixon is a phenomenal guy. I think he's a great leader. I am certainly hopeful that Steve will show the board that he is the right party to be leading the company on a permanent basis.”
Dixon announced Wednesday that Price and Henry Hood, Chesapeake's senior vice president of land, both will leave the company May 3.
“Tom and Henry have been valued members of our leadership team and have played important roles in the historic success of our company,” Dixon said in a statement Wednesday. “Tom has been a leader in promoting our company and our industry in our host communities, trade groups and in Washington, D.C., while under Henry's direction, Chesapeake secured the No. 1 or No. 2 positions in 10 of the most prolific natural gas and liquids fields in America.”
Price joined the Oklahoma City natural gas and oil company in 1992.
“I had the opportunity to work with a lot of great people and do great things,” Price said. “I have no regrets about what I put into this company or what I think this company will do to rise again as a leader in the oil and gas industry.
“At 61, it's time to let the younger guys have the opportunity to do what they are all so good at. We expect some great things from this company going forward.”
Hood, 52, has worked for Chesapeake since 1995 and is senior vice president of land. Hood also served as general counsel from 2006 until last September, when he was replaced at that position by longtime Oklahoma City trial attorney James R. Webb.
“Chesapeake is a special, great place to work with wonderful, incredibly dedicated, hardworking people,” Hood told The Oklahoman on Wednesday. “I will miss working side-by-side with them every day, but I do look forward to pursuing new opportunities.” Hood had no other comment.
Wednesday's announcement comes just two days after McClendon left the company.
Industry analyst Mark Hanson said he is not surprised that Price and McClendon will be working together in the future.
“I didn't think this would be McClendon's last act,” Hanson said. “It looks like he's trying to reassemble his team.”
Hanson also pointed out that land and corporate and government relations are areas where Chesapeake's new board has said it plans to cut costs.
“Those positions probably were on the verge of extinction,” he said.
“Given the company's new focus on developing assets rather than buying leases, it sounds like they may be dismantling a bit there.”