McClendon announces retirement from Chesapeake

The announcement came in a news release issued by the company today.

McClendon, 53, has serve as the company’s CEO since the company was founded in 1989, and served as chairman of the company’s board until last year, when he stepped down amid controversy involving personal loans and company management.

McClendon has faced criticism from shareholders over compensation and perks, especially during a period in which the company’s stock prices dipped sharply, as well as criticism about using his stake in wells drilled by Chesapeake as collateral for more than $1.1 billion in personal loans.

Today’s release by Chesapeake stated that an internal review of alleged conflicts of interest and other matters involving McClendon has turned up no improper conduct thus far, and the final report on the matter will be completed in mid-February.

Last year, new board members were added to the company to give shareholders more confidence in the company, including former ConocoPhillips CEO Archie Dunham.

“Over the past 24 years, I have had the privilege of developing Chesapeake into one of the world’s premier energy companies,” McClendon said in a statement. “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.”

The board of directors has retained the Chicago-based executive firm Heidrick & Struggles to assist in searching for a new CEO.

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