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Cuts at Chesapeake were difficult, but necessary

by The Oklahoman Editorial Board Published: October 10, 2013

If anyone's pockets are lined by the results of a reduction in force, it's the average American who's counting on these funds to sustain them in their golden years. The last thing they need is a business plan that doesn't maximize returns on investment.

When Chesapeake co-founder Aubrey McClendon left earlier this year, we noted it brought a measure of relief for some investors and a measure of continued uncertainty for Chesapeake employees. McClendon has started a new company that has all the earmarks of a successful enterprise. The continued uncertainty for Chesapeake employees is now greatly diminished, which of course is of small comfort to those who will no longer get a Chesapeake paycheck.

For the rest of us, a leaner Chesapeake carries short-term pain but long-term benefits. Generous charitable giving, a hallmark of McClendon and Chesapeake from the beginning, will be reduced for a time. Large reductions in force have spinoff effects in retail sales, real estate, tax receipts and other economic measures. This city faces a weighty challenge to overcome these effects as quickly as possible.

We have every confidence that we can do this. Oklahoma City lost nearly 650 workers in one fell swoop, but it didn't lose a headquarters company whose name is on our NBA arena, a company that's been an outstanding corporate citizen from its founding.

It had to be done, this retrenchment, to sustain the company and position it for new opportunities. Profitability is not a side issue in public companies. It's the issue.

Chesapeake still puts food on the table for 11,000 employees throughout its area of operation. That's a remarkable number for a company that didn't exist 25 years ago.

by The Oklahoman Editorial Board
The Oklahoman Editorial Board consists of Gary Pierson, President and CEO of The Oklahoma Publishing Company; Christopher P. Reen, president and publisher of The Oklahoman; Kelly Dyer Fry, editor and vice president of news; Christy Gaylord...
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