Aubrey McClendon to relinquish position as Chesapeake board chairman, retain CEO title

Chesapeake Energy Corp. will get an independent chairman to replace founder Aubrey McClendon, who will remain the company's chief executive officer.
by Jay F. Marks Published: May 1, 2012

Ma
xwell has reached mandatory retirement age.

Two more board members — Oklahoma State University President Burns Hargis and former Union Pacific CEO Richard K. Davidson — face re-election at Chesapeake's June 8 shareholder meeting.

The board's nominating and corporate governance committee is considering potential chairman candidates who do not have any previous relationship with the company.

The committee will solicit input from major shareholders like Southeastern Asset Management Inc. The Memphis-based money manager is Chesapeake's largest shareholder with more than 87 million shares, or about 13 percent, of the company's outstanding stock.

Southeastern CEO O. Mason Hawkins supported the move to split the company's CEO and chairman positions.

“We are pleased that the board has listened to our input and believe it has made the right decision by ending the FWPP early and seeking an independent chairman,” Hawkins said. “Aubrey was right to recognize that these actions are in the best interests of the company and its shareholders.

“We support management's continuing efforts to unlock and deliver the value embedded in Chesapeake's assets.”

McClendon agreed last week to give up the well participation perk before it was scheduled to expire at the end of 2015. The company announced Tuesday the program would end 18 months early, in June 2014.

McClendon will receive “no compensation of any kind,” according to the company's news release, but he will be able to buy a stake in Chesapeake wells for two more years as the company shifts its focus to oil and natural gas liquids.

McClendon said he supports the board's plan to separate the positions of chairman and CEO.

“This action reflects our determination to uphold strong corporate governance standards and will also enable me to focus my full time and attention on execution of the company's strategy, the implementation of our transformation into a major oil producer and the completion of our asset monetization and joint venture objectives,” he said.

CONTRIBUTING: ENERGY EDITOR, ADAM WILMOTH

April 27: Power Play Blog - Report: Chesapeake CEO... April 30: Power Play Blog - Chesapeake upgraded, stock... April 26: Power Play Blog - Investment firm defends loans...

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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