Nine months after Chesapeake Energy Corp. shareholders overwhelmingly rejected him, Oklahoma State University President Burns Hargis has been replaced on the company's board.
Hargis submitted his resignation after receiving only 26 percent of the vote at June's annual shareholders' meeting, but the board opted to keep him on as head of the audit committee to complete a review of CEO Aubrey McClendon's finances.
The board announced Thursday it had accepted Hargis' resignation, about two weeks after announcing its review found no proof of intentional misconduct by McClendon, who has faced scrutiny for arranging loans to finance his stake in the company's wells from equity firms that have invested in Chesapeake.
“With the completion of my final assignment, it is the appropriate time for me to step aside,” Hargis said.
The office of New York City Controller John C. Liu had urged other Chesapeake shareholders to vote against Hargis and former board member Richard Davidson at last year's annual meeting. The city's pension funds own nearly 1.7 million shares of Chesapeake stock.
“His overdue departure closes a costly chapter for the Chesapeake board, which must now focus like a laser on restoring long-term shareowner value,” said Michael Garland, assistant comptroller for environmental, social and governance.
Chesapeake Chairman Archie Dunham praised Hargis for his work with the company.
“He has willingly invested his time, talents and expertise for the sole purpose of helping make Chesapeake successful,” Dunham said. “We are grateful to Burns for remaining on the board to see several important assignments though to completion. ”
Former Pride International Inc. CEO Louis A. Raspino has been appointed to replace Hargis, who had been on Chesapeake's board since 2008.
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