State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli was quick to cheer the news that Chesapeake Energy CEO Aubrey McClendon would be replaced as chairman of the company’s board, ending a dual role that had received increasing scrutiny in recent weeks.
In a statement last week, DiNapoli was critical of the company for a program that allowed McClendon to own a small stake in many of Chesapeake’s oil and gas wells, a stake he used as collateral to take out loans and pay for his share of drilling costs.
Chesapeake announced today that it would move to find a new chairman to replace McClendon.
The state’s pension fund, meanwhile, owns about 3 million shares of Chesapeake stock, which had taken a steep tumble over the last month after McClendon’s financial interests received increasing media scrutiny.
“The New York Common Retirement Fund has long been concerned about Aubrey McClendon’s dual role as chairman and CEO of Chesapeake,” DiNapoli said in a statement. “This board has historically been slow to address shareholder concerns and it is unfortunate that it took a crisis of this magnitude and substantial loss of shareholder value to spur them to action. Much remains to be done to restore investor confidence in this company and we hope this is one of several steps Chesapeake’s board will take to achieve that goal.”
DiNapoli oversees the pension fund’s investments. His office didn’t take any formal action against Chesapeake for the well ownership program, but made clear last week that it wasn’t pleased.