Chesapeake offers voluntary separation program
Chesapeake Energy Corp. on Friday offered a voluntary separation program for 275 employees.
Chesapeake in June said it would cut 70 positions, or about 8 percent of its North Texas workforce, as drilling in the natural gas-rich Barnett Shale slowed.
Gheit and analyst Phillip Weiss both said the cutbacks make sense, but that they had expected Chesapeake's directors first to release their long-awaited internal investigation of McClendon's personal finances.
Archie Dunham, who in June was named Chesapeake's chairman, said at the time that he expected the findings from the investigation to be released within 90 days. That self-imposed deadline passed more than two months ago.
“We have a new chairman and new guys on the board, but we've heard nothing,” Weiss, an analyst with Argus in New York, said Friday.
Weiss said more cuts could follow.
“It wouldn't surprise me, but it's hard to know because the company hasn't said much,” he said. “We have no formal guidance. Several companies I follow have put out 2013 budgets, but we haven't heard from Chesapeake.”
Dunham in June said the board's review will include comparing Chesapeake's spending and staffing levels with competitors like Anadarko Petroleum Corp. or Devon Energy Corp.
The market capitalization for both of those companies is more than twice that of Chesapeake's, which employs more people than Anadarko and Devon combined.
“Unlike the federal government, which never reduces staff, public companies have to reduce staff, have to cut costs, have to sell assets during different times in the history of the company in order to remain viable,” he said in a June interview with The Oklahoman. “I think the experience of all the board members in doing that at various times in their careers will help us make the right decisions on the assets that need to be sold and the right decisions around the cost structure of the company.”