The following is an excerpt from The Oklahoman's exclusive interview with Chesapeake CEO Doug Lawler on Tuesday:
Q: What positions were cut today? Can you provide any information on the average salary of those positions?
A: It was across the organization in several different groups. These were principally staff positions. Many of the reductions that have taken place up to this point in time have been managerial or senior level employees.
I won't share with you any of the financial information associated with it, but it's very important to note that this has been an exercise in restructuring the company to execute the strategy. It's not been a financial exercise. Obviously our competitiveness on a financial basis is very important, but this exercise we've gone through has been very rigorous and thorough so we're in the best position possible to be more competitive with the strategy we have in the E&P sector.
Q: It's been a difficult 18 months for Chesapeake. How do you move forward with everyone who is still at the company and improve the morale?
A: Chesapeake has all the necessary resources to be a top performing E&P company. I sense it in the people that they all know that. I sense it in the assets. I believe everyone knows the capability and the leadership position this company can achieve.
What we need to do is focus on the future, focus on how we can be more profitable and more competitive. With the right strategy in place, which I believe we have, the employees will align around that. With the support of the board and the support of the employees, with this strategy, I believe we will be very successful.
Now it's time to look forward to the horizon and look forward to becoming and achieving the full potential of Chesapeake.
Q: With these cuts, will you have empty buildings?
A: We will be evaluating all the space. The strategy will prove that Chesapeake will be a growing enterprise.
Q: Tell me about yourself through this process. I've heard some people vilify you for coming in and leading all these cuts. How do you deal with the criticism and anger?
A: First of all, I think we have an outstanding leadership team. I came here because I wanted to come here. I'm motivated to work with the employees and this leadership team to achieve something special at Chesapeake.
The criticism and comments can be bothersome, but I believe very strongly in the people and I believe very strongly in the assets. I believe the strategy and the future is very bright for Chesapeake. So I try not to focus on it. I try not to concentrate on it.
I didn't leave to come here to not be successful with the company. Chesapeake isn't about one person. it's about a company of motivated employees. I'm excited to be a part of it. Opposed to focusing on those negative things or that criticism, I believe very strongly in the people and the talent here. I believe we have great potential and opportunity to do something great with this company.