As the well turns

Credit: Brad Gregg

Meanwhile, the latest kick to the well head for Chesapeake came in a Reuters story yesterday showing that Chesapeake possibly worked with a competitor to suppress land prices on its oil and gas plays.

According to emails obtained by Reuters, Chesapeake CEO Aubrey McClendon had explicit knowledge of his company working with another oil and gas company, Encana, to avoid bidding against each other on a public land auction and for deals with private individuals. Such actions, according to Reuters, are possible violations of state and federal laws.

Chesapeake stock fell more than 8 percent after the story was published.

revelation came only a few days after the energy giant announced it had
named former ConocoPhillips board chairman and CEO Archie Dunham as its
new board chairman to succeed McClendon.

who remains the company’s CEO, stepped down from the chairman spot in
the wake of damaging stories that included his receiving more than $1
billion in personal loans to pay for an executive perk that gave him a
stake in each well drilled. Chesapeake board of directors agreed to
appoint an independent chairman.

other issues came to light — such as McClendon’s involvement in a hedge
fund that traded in the same commodities produced by Chesapeake — the
clamor from shareholders for change in corporate governance reached
Mötorhead-worthy decibel levels, culminating in a June 8 shareholder
meeting in which two board members failed to win even 30 percent of
shareholder votes for re-election.

Activist investor Carl
Icahn, who purchased a significant portion of Chesapeake stock in the
midst of the crisis, demanded that the company instate board members
selected by the company’s largest shareholders.

The company also is working to eliminate $7.4 billion in assets by the end of the year to trim its significant debt.

addition, the company announced that the board had appointed four new
independent board members — three proposed by the largest shareholder
Southeastern Asset Management: Bob Alexander, R. Brad Martin and
Frederic M. Poses; and one by Icahn: Vincent J. Intrieri.

new board members replaced Richard K. Davidson, Kathleen M. Eisbrenner,
former Oklahoma Gov. Frank Keating, former U.S. Sen. Don Nickles and
Charles T. Maxwell.

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Gazette staff

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