New Chesapeake chairman expected this week

June 17, 2012 

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - Oklahoma City-based Chesapeake Energy Corp. is expected to name a new chairman this week, although the 23-year-old company has given no indication who that will be.

Aubrey McClendon has agreed to step down as chairman of the company he co-founded in 1989 after questions were raised about the company's corporate governance and a report that he secured up to $1.1 billion in personal loans, including loans from a private equity firm that does business with Chesapeake.

McClendon will remain as chief executive officer.

Chesapeake has said it will name a new chairman and four new board members by Friday, but the company has yet to formally accept the resignations of two directors who were denied re-election at Chesapeake's June 8 annual meeting.

The board's two-member nominating committee has been considering candidates for chairman since May. Member Don Nickles told The Oklahoman ( ) it's close to making its selection.

Fadel Gheit, an analyst at Oppenheimer in New York, suggested to the newspaper possible candidates, including former Chevron CEO David O'Reilly, ex-Exxon Mobile Corp. executive Edward Galante and retired ConocoPhillips CEO Jim Mulva.

Gheit said any legitimate candidate for the position should live in Oklahoma City to play an active role in managing Chesapeake's transition, which McClendon has described as a move from asset acquisition to asset harvest.

"The new chairman must be closely involved in all decisions and that cannot be done long distance," Gheit said.

Chesapeake is the No. 2 natural gas producer in the United States, behind ExxonMobil.

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Information from: The Oklahoman, http://www.newsok.com

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