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Chesapeake Energy Corp. to name new chairman this coming week

Chesapeake Energy Corp. is days away from replacing co-founder Aubrey McClendon as its board chairman, but the company has not given any clues about who its new leader will be.
BY JAY F. MARKS Published: June 15, 2012

Chesapeake is being forced to sell valuable assets to overcome a cash crunch caused by its move toward oil and liquids production.

The company recently sold the bulk of its midstream assets for $4 billion to fill a budget shortfall estimated to be as much as $22 billion.

Another package of deals earlier this year netted about $2.6 billion.

That is the backdrop for the company's search for a new chairman.

Analysts say the rumor mill has churned out a number of names, but many are eliminated from consideration as quickly as they were raised.

“I have no idea how legit any of the rumors are,” Sterne Agee analyst Tim Rezvan said.

Gheit, an analyst at Oppenheimer in New York, floated several names last week in a conversation with The Oklahoman, but he said he is not sure any of them would be suitable.

He suggested possible candidates for Chesapeake could include former Chevron CEO David O'Reilly, ex-Exxon Mobile Corp. executive Edward Galante and retired ConocoPhillips CEO Jim Mulva.

Gheit said any legitimate candidate for the position ideally should live in Oklahoma City to play an active role in managing Chesapeake's transition, which McClendon has described as a move from asset acquisition to asset harvest.

“The new chairman must be closely involved in all decisions and that cannot be done long distance,” he said.