CEO Aubrey McClendon has said Chesapeake intends to focus on harvesting its rich asset base, but analysts have estimated the company needs to raise up to $22 billion to cover its spending plans through next year.
What happens next likely will be up to McClendon's new boss.
Dunham has experience running energy companies and selling them.
“Dunham is a well-known name in the industry with a great reputation,” Gheit said.
“He has seen low commodity prices. He's a veteran. He's run a company for many years. He's also not bashful. He can sell companies. He's done it before.”
As chairman and CEO of Ponca City-based Conoco Inc., Dunham orchestrated the company's merger with Phillips Petroleum Corp.
Gheit agreed that the new directors are not likely to serve on Chesapeake's board long-term, but he said it is still too soon to tell exactly what that means for the company.
“These are all guys who have established careers. They are not coming here for any new glory or a second career,” he said. “They are basically going to be looked at to restore investor confidence and raise shareholder value.”
Standard & Poor's analyst Scott Sprinzen also is not unsure what changes the board has planned.
“Time will tell,” he said.