“Chesapeake has been an important part of this community and an important part of the state,” Dunham said. “We will continue to do so.”
Following a legend
Lawler will become only the second CEO in Chesapeake's history. He will succeed co-founder Aubrey McClendon, who shaped Chesapeake's unique corporate culture and hired almost everyone at the company.
McClendon will continue to be associated with Chesapeake as he owns up to 2.5 percent of nearly every well the company has drilled and will drill for the next year.
McClendon also has created American Energy Partners, a new natural gas company with a headquarters just two blocks from Chesapeake's campus.
Lawler said he has not yet met with McClendon, but that they have traded notes and plan to meet soon.
“I have the upmost respect for Aubrey,” Lawler said. “I think he has done a fantastic job with Chesapeake. He has been a visionary and his leadership in the industry has been outstanding. He and I and all employees and board share the same goal in that we want the best for Chesapeake.
“His (McClendon') goal and interest in seeing Chesapeake do well are no different from mine and Chesapeake's employees. I can't say enough good things about what Aubrey's done. While we've moved forward on this different chapter, I'll do my best to represent his interests and the things he's done and work with the employees and the board to advance Chesapeake.”
Lawler was short on details about changes the company will make in the future, including on commercial real estate development, finances and operational focus. He pointed out that he won't officially start at Chesapeake until Monday.
“I'll be working closely with the management team and with employees on making those decisions,” he said. “I think the key in all those decisions is going to be based on how we can add the most value to our shareholders and continue to grow the company in the most profitable way we can.”
The move to Oklahoma City also will bring Lawler close to his brother, David, who in April was named chief operating officer at Oklahoma City-based SandRidge Energy Corp.
“I'm happy to be in the same state and city as my brother. We've always been close,” he said.
David Lawler said he is excited about living close to his brother again.
“Our careers have placed us in the same city once before, and during that period, we made the most of the time we had together,” David Lawler said. “In The Woodlands, Texas, we attended the same church, played family soccer games, held cookouts and participated in various running and biking events. My personal favorite was our continuous effort to form a family pyramid on water skis when boating on Lake Conroe. We look forward to building great memories together here in Oklahoma City.”
David Lawler also said his brother will be a great fit at Chesapeake.
“From a professional point of view, I'm delighted for the citizens of Oklahoma and the stakeholders of Chesapeake Energy Corp.,” he said. “Although I'm clearly biased, I think those that know Doug would agree with me when I share that he is a strong servant leader. He is honest, humble and he possesses a material level of business acumen. I'm certain he will be a valuable member of the Chesapeake team.”
About the CEO