Those who would make light of Chesapeake's downturn in the past year or relish McClendon's diminished role should consider adding a measure of balance to their thinking. Successful people like McClendon who build successful companies such as Chesapeake — he and Tom Ward started the company with $50,000 — don't just help themselves and their shareholders. They help the less successful to stay fed, stay clothed, stay educated and stay informed.
In the end, though, public companies such as Chesapeake are controlled by shareholders and regulators who require a measure of performance and compliance that isn't focused on charitable giving but on financial success. It's in everyone's best interest for Chesapeake to succeed as a well-managed company positioned for growth. The structural changes of the past year are good for the company, employees and the community.
They may not have been the best thing for McClendon himself, but he moves into the next phase of his career with the drive, determination and know-how to build something else from humble beginnings. We salute him for what he's done. We hope any mistakes he made will be instructive for his future.
Most of all, we salute Chesapeake's employees. They should view this as an exciting time, with equal measures of opportunity and challenge, in which to build on a culture of excellence that McClendon started fashioning a quarter century ago.