Aubrey McClendon, co-founder and CEO of Chesapeake Energy Corp., will step down as the company’s leader effective April 1, according to a company release Tuesday.
McClendon, Trinity ’81, announced his decision to retire months after the unraveling of his unethical business practices. A report from Reuters in April 2012 outlined the CEO’s hand in taking out approximately $1.1 billion in loans against his personal stakes in the enterprises’s oil and gas wells through the use of a corporate incentive program, the Founder Well Participation Program. McClendon and his wife, Katie, Trinity ’80, have donated more than $16 million to Duke to date, with gifts funding the Bryan Center Plaza and the namesake tower.
The culmination of such actions raised concerns regarding the blurred line between McClendon’s personal dealings and the company’s.
“As the company moves towards more fully developing the value of its outstanding assets, Chesapeake is at an important transition in its history —Aubrey and the board of directors have agreed that the time has come for the company to select a new leader,” said Chesapeake Board Chair Archie Dunham in the company’s release.“The Board will be working collaboratively with Aubrey to make a smooth transition to Chesapeake’s next chief executive officer.”
The board further noted that its review of the allegations surrounding McClendon has not to date revealed any improper conduct, adding that such probes had no influence in his decision to retire as CEO.
McClendon, who has been with the company since its inception in 1989, will continue to serve as CEO until a successor has been appointed. He will also receive his full compensation and other benefits to which he is entitled, as laid out in his employment agreement, the press release noted.
In the statement, McClendon noted that despite “certain philosophical differences” with the new board, he hopes to ensure that the company will adjust to these changes.
“I look forward to working collaboratively with the company and the board to provide a smooth transition to new leadership for the company,” he added.
Chesapeake is currently the second largest producer of natural gas in the nation, accounting for 5 percent of the United States’ natural gas production.