OKLAHOMA CITY – Chesapeake Energy’s CEO Aubrey McClendon is retiring as of April 1.
According to a release from Chesapeake, the board announced that its extensive review of alleged conflicts of interest and other matters involving McClendon has to date found no improper conduct.
The co-founder, chief executive officer and president, Aubrey K. McClendon, has agreed to retire from the company on April 1, 2013 and will continue to serve as Chief Executive Officer until his successor is appointed.
McClendon said, “While I have certain philosophical differences with the new board, I look forward to working collaboratively with the company and the board to provide a smooth transition to new leadership for the company.”
According to the release, the board expects to release the review of the financing arrangements and other matters in its earnings announcement scheduled for release before market open on Feb. 21, 2013.
“He has been a pioneer in the development of unconventional resources and he has also been a leader in the effort to make the United States energy independent,” Chairman of the Board Archie W. Dunham said. “However, as the company moves towards more fully developing the value of its outstanding assets, Chesapeake is at an important transition in its history and Aubrey and the Board of Directors have agreed that the time has come for the company to select a new leader.”
The board and McClendon’s decision to search for a new leader is not related to the board’s pending review of his financing arrangements and other matters.
McClendon will resign from the Board of Directors when they appoint a new member.
The release stated he will receive his full compensation and other benefits in accordance with the terms of his employment agreement.
McClendon will continue to be an important partner with the company given his stock ownership as well as his interests in certain of the company’s wells in connection with the Founder Well Participation Program, which will terminate on June 30, 2014.
Letter Aubrey McClendon sent to staff:
Dear CHK’ers: By now you all should have received the press release announcing that the Board and I have mutually agreed to my resignation as CEO as of April 1, 2013. Although this is due to certain philosophical differences that exist between the Board and me, the separation will be amicable and smooth.
I have the utmost confidence in you and the company’s future and I will always treasure the time we have spent together building Chesapeake into the unique and dynamic company that it is today. In many respects, our accomplishments are unique and I will always remain immensely grateful for the time I have spent with you building CHK into the industry leader that it is today.
My best wishes to you all and onward and upward from here!
Letter Chairman of the Board Archie Dunham sent to Chesapeake employees:
As you may have just read in an email from Aubrey and will see in the press release this evening, the Board of Directors of Chesapeake has mutually agreed and accepted Aubrey McClendon’s resignation as CEO effective upon appointment of his successor, and retirement from the company, effective April 1, 2013. The decision was made in full recognition and appreciation for the enormous achievements Aubrey has made in founding and building Chesapeake into the extraordinary enterprise it is today.
Over the past 24 years, Aubrey has created one of the most valuable companies in the energy industry. Under his strong leadership, Chesapeake has built an unmatched portfolio of natural gas and oil assets in creating one of the world’s leading energy companies. Aubrey has been a pioneer in the development of unconventional resources, and he has also been a leader in the effort to make the United States energy independent. Aubrey has done all of this with the support and expertise of the world-class senior management team he recruited to Chesapeake and the dedication of our employees.
For the transition, Aubrey remains our CEO. During this interim period, he will work closely with Steve Dixon, Chief Operating Officer, and Nick Dell’Osso, Chief Financial Officer, to transition certain day-to-day management responsibilities and assure that the company maintains the highest degree of operational excellence and strategic execution of our business plan. The Board of Directors and the senior management team are counting on your continued dedication and focus as we execute our strategy of developing our world-class assets and maintain our performance as a low-cost producer of oil and gas while further strengthening the balance sheet.
I would also like to address certain likely points of concern among you. First, the company is not for sale. Second, the board has confirmed the current drilling and completion budget of six billion dollars and is eager to see the exciting recent results of the company’s core of the core development strategy continue. Lastly, the board and management believe strongly in the culture of excellence at Chesapeake and are committed to seeing this culture thrive in the future. The Board has no intention of eliminating childcare, shutting down the Fitness Center, or selling the Company cafeterias. I’m sure that other false rumors will appear, so when they surface, ask Steve or Nick if they are true. Our truly top notch 12,000 employees remain the company’s best asset, and we will continue to retain and attract the best talent in the industry.
We are at an important transition point for our company, but it is also a point of great opportunity. Thank you for all you do to make Chesapeake a great company.