(By Kevin Donovan) Chesapeake Energy Corp. (CHK) took a big step toward shoring up investor confidence with the naming of five independent directors and appointing a new chairman of the board, Archie Dunham, former chairman of ConocoPhillips. Shares are lower.
The embattled Aubrey McClendon, who had been chairman and was under the gun from investors troubled by his personal business entanglements with the company, will continue to serve as Chesapeake's CEO and president.
Shares are down more than 1%, but the big dogs professed satisfaction. In a press release, Chesapeake delivered these endorsements:
O. Mason Hawkins, chairman and CEO of Southeastern Asset Management, Chesapeake's largest shareholder, said, "Chesapeake has the assets and the opportunity to become the U.S.'s pre-eminent, low cost energy producer and to significantly grow its value per share. We believe this board will prudently guide, assist and complement management's efforts to capture its potential."
And from Carl Icahn, Chesapeake's second largest shareholder, came this blessing: "We believe Chesapeake is now heading in the right direction. With the Board providing strong oversight, the management team will be sharply focused on realizing the value of its assets and the company will be well positioned to create substantial value for shareholders going forward."