Chesapeake chairman familiar with challenges

by Jay F. Marks and Adam Wilmoth Published: June 27, 2012
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Raspino credited much of the company's turnaround to Dunham and the Pride directors.

“Archie has an extremely strong ethical compass,” Raspino said. “His ethics and integrity and governance are beyond reproach. He's tough, demanding and fair.”

Dunham is in Oklahoma City this week getting to know Chesapeake's senior management.

One who needs no introduction is Mike Stice, Chesapeake's senior vice president of natural gas projects and CEO of subsidiary Chesapeake Midstream Partners.

Stice spent about 18 months as Dunham's executive assistant when both men were at Conoco, beginning in 1991.

Stice said the position, which he describes as the biggest break of his career, was affectionately known as “bag rat.”

“I did everything from carry his bags to help him with complex decisions,” he said.

Stice said he traveled around the world with Dunham as executive assistant to the man he still regards as a dear friend.

He said Chesapeake will benefit from Dunham's personal integrity and credibility in the marketplace.

Stice said Dunham, a devout Christian with a good work ethic, has the “strongest, disciplined core values I've ever witnessed.”

Dunham is not bothered by any rhetoric, Stice said, likely as a result of his time in the U.S. Marines.

“He's stable like a rock,” he said.

Stice said Dunham has proven he can get to the facts of a situation and make quality decisions, traits that will serve Chesapeake well in Dunham's new role as chairman.

Les Csorba is a recruiter who led Dunham to Pride and other boards. He was not involved in Dunham's appointment at Chesapeake, but he said the former ConocoPhillips chairman is a perfect fit.

“When I first heard they were going to go out and look for a new chairman, my first thought was that they needed a seasoned energy executive who is widely respected both from a board governance perspective and an operating perspective,” Csorba said. “Archie was the first person who came to mind.”

Csorba also is the author of “Trust: The One Thing That Makes or Breaks a Leader.”

He said Dunham is a great choice for a company that has had significant trust issues over the past several months.

“There are different levels of trust,” Csorba said. “There's a personal trust that's the kind of trust you build throughout your relationships, your integrity and keeping your word. Then there is an expertise trust you build through your confidence and skills. Archie has built both high levels of personal and expertise trust over the years.”

Csorba said Chesapeake already has begun rebuilding trust by bringing in Dunham and the other new directors.

“I think they've already made some of the first steps in rebuilding that trust with new leadership on the board,” Csorba said. “I think Chesapeake is being more transparent and open. I think Aubrey has done some of the necessary things to rebuild trust. Then you need the right kind of leadership. I'm very confident that working with Aubrey and the rest of the management team, they will rebuild Chesapeake into the great company.”

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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At a glance

Archie Dunham

1938: Year born

1943: Family moved to Ada

1960: Graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a degree in geological and petroleum engineering and received a commission as a second lieutenant in the Marines. Two days later, he married high school sweetheart, Linda.

1966: Graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a master's degree in business administration. He then joined Conoco Inc. as an associate engineer.

1976: Executive vice president of Conoco subsidiary Douglas Oil Co.

1979: Vice president of logistics and downstream planning for Conoco Inc.

1985: Conoco's executive vice president of petroleum products in North America and was elected to the board of directors

1987: Senior vice president of chemicals and pigments at Conoco's then-parent company DuPont.

1991: Conoco's executive vice president of exploration production

1996: Conoco's president and CEO

1999: Conoco's chairman

2002: Chairman of the newly formed ConcoPhillips Corp.

2004: Retired from ConocoPhillips

SOURCE: HORATIO ALGER ASSOCIATION OF DISTINGUISHED AMERICANS INC.

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