Chesapeake Energy co-founder and longtime CEO Aubrey McClendon, 53, will retire from the embattled energy producer on April 1 "and will continue to serve as Chief Executive Officer until his successor is appointed," when he will also leave the company's board of directors, the Oklahoma City-based company announced this afternoon.
The company also said McClendon's retirement "is not related to the board's pending review of his financing arrangements and other matters."
While McClendon's right to acquire a stake in the company's wells were disclosed, the British news agency Reuters reported last year that McClendon had borrowed money to finance his participation from companies that also lent to Chesapeake, which raised questions.
In a prepared statement, McClendon said:
“Over the past 24 years, I have had the privilege of developing Chesapeake into one of the world’s premier energy companies. It has been an honor to work with my outstanding management team and the company’s 12,000 very talented and dedicated employees. I am extremely proud of what we have built over the last quarter of a century, and I am confident that Chesapeake is in a great position to continue to grow and achieve great success in the future as it realizes the full value of its outstanding assets. 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.”
Julie Wilson, Chesapeake's top officer in the Barnett Shale, said in an email: " I have always been proud to work for Aubrey McClendon. I remain honored to work for Chesapeake Energy." The company has about 500 employees in North Texas, including a large Fort Worth office.
-- Jim Fuquay