Chesapeake Energy Corp. laid out a new organizational structure Tuesday amid multiple reports of layoffs at the Oklahoma City-based oil and natural gas company.
Chesapeake has declined to comment on possible layoffs, but email accounts for several company employees are no longer active.
Spokesman Gordon Pennoyer issued a statement Tuesday afternoon that did not address the layoff reports.
“Chesapeake is transitioning key leadership positions and making adjustments to its organization to properly align resources, reduce expenses, and improve its operating and competitive performance,” he said. “The company's focus remains on financial discipline and profitable and efficient growth from captured resources. We look forward to realizing Chesapeake's full potential for our shareholders and employees.”
Asked about specific managers, Pennoyer said, “We will have no comment beyond what I sent you.”
CEO Doug Lawler told employees that additional organizational changes are expected in the coming weeks.
“During this time, it is imperative that each of us maintain our focus on safety and execute our day-to-day duties in an operationally prudent manner,” Lawler wrote in an email to employees Tuesday afternoon. “We thank you for your patience and dedication as we work together to transform our company.”
Chairman Archie Dunham hinted at possible job reductions last summer after he was tabbed to replace co-founder Aubrey McClendon at the head of the company's board.
He said Chesapeake's cost structure should be on par with peers like Devon Energy Corp. and Anadarko Petroleum Corp.
Both companies had about half as many employees as Chesapeake last year, despite much larger market capitalizations.
Chesapeake had more than 13,000 employees at that time, but its most recent annual report in April indicated it now has about 12,000. The company had more than 4,700 employees in Oklahoma City as of Jan. 31, according to a report it provided to the city in March.
In the company's Aug. 1 earnings call with analysts, Lawler said he had launched a “comprehensive review” of Chesapeake's assets and organization. He said he planned to work with senior management to help Chesapeake realize its full potential.
Four senior executives, including former interim CEO Steve Dixon, were fired Aug. 12 as part of the company's reorganization effort.
“This is a business decision resulting from Chesapeake's continuing transformation to where we want to be as a top-performing company,” Lawler told The Oklahoman when the moves were announced.
The future of Chesapeake's affiliates is part of its ongoing review, Lawler said in last month's earnings call.
Chesapeake officials are looking at the return its affiliates are generating to determine the best way to make the company more competitive.
“If it's not adding value and not return-centric that adds to our competitive position, we will look to divest of it,” Lawler said last month.
Subsidiary Chesapeake Oilfield Services includes the company's drilling, pressure pumping, oil-field services and equipment manufacturing businesses. That company's organizational structure remains unchanged under CEO Jerry Winchester, according to Lawler's email to employees.