Chesapeake to strip CEO of chairmanship, halt well deals

May 1 (Bloomberg) -- Chesapeake Energy Corp. will name an independent chairman to replace Aubrey McClendon and halt an incentive program that allowed the chief executive officer to amass personal stakes in thousands of company-operated wells.

McClendon agreed to a board request to terminate the so- called Founder Well Participation Program in June 2014, 18 months early, without additional compensation, according to a release today. McClendon will not be relinquishing any of the well stakes he already holds, Michael Kehs, a Chesapeake spokesman, said today in an e-mailed statement.

McClendon, the 52-year-old co-founder and CEO of Chesapeake, was criticized by investors and analysts after news reports last month detailed his use of interests in company wells to obtain hundreds of millions of dollars in personal loans.

Chesapeake said yesterday that the Internal Revenue Service is reviewing the well-investment program as part of ongoing audits of the company’s 2008 and 2009 tax returns. The Oklahoma City-based company is scheduled to announce first-quarter results today.

The announcement was made before the start of regular trading on U.S. markets. Chesapeake rose 9.3 percent to $20.16 at 9:18 a.m. in New York.

Bloomberg News

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