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Chesapeake continues to restructure

Chesapeake Energy is cutting symbols of its past corporate largesse, laying off three chaplains and two gardeners, and closing an on-campus employee garden.
by Brianna Bailey Modified: September 12, 2013 at 9:13 pm •  Published: September 13, 2013

Chesapeake employees have told BritVil Executive Director Sue Butler that the garden will close after the harvest this fall, she said Thursday.

The vegetables from the Chesapeake garden — everything from tomatoes, okra and kale, go to local families who can't always afford fresh produce, Butler said.

“The vegetables were just phenomenal — they pick them and bring them here the day they pull them out of the garden,” she said. “They've been a blessing for this community.”

Employee perks

Both the employee garden and staff chaplains were some of the company's much-touted employee perks. The company has been consistently ranked on Fortune Magazine's Best Companies to Work For list. Chesapeake was ranked No. 26 on the list in January, the highest ranking for an Oklahoma-based company.

The company has been tight-lipped about reported layoffs in recent weeks, but many have expected job cuts since McClendon left earlier this year.

On Tuesday, the company told The Oklahoman in a statement that it was “transitioning key leadership positions and making adjustments to its organization to properly align resources, reduce expenses, and improve its operating and competitive performance.”

Speaking Wednesday at the Barclays CEO Energy-Power Conference in New York, recently installed CEO Doug Lawler, said he is pushing Chesapeake to become a “more competitive, profitable company.”

“We are going to be return-centric in everything we do and in all aspects of our business,” Lawler said.

Meanwhile, McClendon has founded American Energy Partners in a six-story office building at 301 NW 63, just a few blocks from Chesapeake's main campus. Two billboards outside the building proclaim that American Energy Partners is “Still hiring.”

Building permits filed with the city indicate that McClendon's new company is putting in an employee fitness center on the ground floor of the building.