|Born||Aubrey Kerr McClendon
July 14, 1959
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
|Alma mater||Duke University|
|Net worth||US$1.2 billion (2011)|
|Parents||Joe Connor McClendon & Carole Kerr McClendon|
Aubrey Kerr McClendon (born 1959) is the co-founder, retired chief executive officer and former chairman of Chesapeake Energy Corporation (NYSE: CHK). He is an outspoken advocate for natural gas as a cleaner and safer alternative to oil and coal fuels. He was the highest-paid CEO of all S&P 500 companies in 2008, receiving a compensation package totaling $112 million. In 2011, he was named "America's Most Reckless Billionaire" in a Forbes Magazine cover story. On the other hand, former Houston mayor Bill White described him as "at the forefront of those heroes" of the American natural gas industry. In June 2012, in what Wall Street Journal writer David Benoit called a "historic revolt," Chesapeake Energy shareholders voted to repudiate McClendon's leadership and to re-incorporate the company in the state of Delaware, rather than in Oklahoma.
Early life and education
McClendon was born on July 14, 1959, in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, to Joe Conner and Carole Kerr McClendon, and is a great-nephew of Robert S. Kerr, a former Oklahoma governor, U.S. Senator and founder of Kerr-McGee Corporation (an Oklahoma City-based oil and natural gas company founded in 1927 and acquired by Anadarko Corporation in 2006).
McClendon graduated from Duke University in 1981 with a B.A. in history and was a member of the Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity. He met his wife Katie, a 1980 Duke graduate, while attending college there. In 1981, they married in St. Joseph, Michigan, have three adult children and live in Oklahoma City.
Chesapeake Energy Corporation
McClendon started his first oil and natural gas investment company, Chesapeake Investments, in 1982 at the age of 23. He co-founded Chesapeake with the company's former president Tom L. Ward, currently the CEO of Oklahoma City-based Sandridge Energy Corporation (NYSE: SD), in 1989 with a $50,000 initial investment. They took the company public in 1993, and today Chesapeake is the second-largest producer of natural gas, a Top 15 oil producer and the most active driller in the United States.
Focusing its operations onshore in the U.S., Chesapeake has pioneered development of unconventional natural gas and oil plays that require high-technology drilling and completion techniques and very large land positions. McClendon, who began his energy career as a landman, led the company to hold significant positions in the nation’s largest shale gas plays, the discovery of which has radically changed estimates of the U.S. supply of natural gas and reduced natural gas prices by 50% to American consumers since 2008, while providing a daily economic stimulus to the U.S. economy of approximately $300 million.
In 2005 McClendon was named one of America's top-performing executives by Forbes Magazine. He was the highest paid CEO at all S&P 500 companies in 2008, receiving a compensation package totaling $112 million, which included a one-time payment of $75 million in recognition of the role he played in developing multiple joint ventures with foreign industry partners, which started a trend of foreign investment in the U.S. natural gas industry that has lowered natural gas costs for consumers and created thousands of new jobs in the natural gas industry.
It was announced on October 10, 2008, that McClendon sold approximately 33.4 million shares, approximately 90% of his stock in Chesapeake Energy (stock symbol CHK), for $16.52 per share to meet a margin call after the drop in the U.S. stock market that week. The stock had been worth as much as $74.00 per share in the year prior to the sale, a loss of nearly $1.92 billion. McClendon was shortly thereafter awarded a controversial one-off $75 million 'Well Cost Incentive Award' by the board of directors. The award was subsequently challenged by way of a shareholder proposal and a number of lawsuits.
In 2010, McClendon began directing the company’s transition toward more balanced production, with the goal of having 50% of its revenues come from oil production by the end of 2013. In 2010, McClendon was a finalist for the Platts Global Energy CEO of the Year Awards, with the company a finalist for awards in the categories of Deal of the Year, Industry Leadership, Energy Producer of the Year and Community Development Program of the Year. Platts also awarded Chesapeake Energy with Producer of the Year and Industry Leadership awards in 2009; and Hydrocarbon Producer of the Year in 2007.
In early 2011, McClendon was named to the Forbes “CEO 20-20 Club,” a group of eight American chief executives who have a minimum of 20 years of service as CEO and produced at least 20% annual returns to shareholders during their tenure.
In November 2011, McClendon was named the Ernst & Young National Entrepreneur Of The Year® 2011 Energy, Cleantech and Natural Resources Award winner. According to the Ernst & Young, McClendon was recognized for redefining Chesapeake’s focus and strategy, taking it from its small-time Oklahoma origins to its current position as the second-largest producer of natural gas and the most active driller of new wells in the U.S.
On April 18, 2012, a Reuters report revealed that McClendon borrowed as much as $1.1 billion against his personal stake in thousands of company wells, raising the potential for conflicts of interest and raised questions on the corporate governance and business ethics of Chesapeake Energy's senior management. On May 1, 2012, Chesapeake's board announced that an independent, non-executive chairman would be named and that McClendon would relinquish his position as chairman of the Chesapeake Energy board.
On June 7, 2012, Reuters reported that McClendon had used Chesapeake employees to perform $3 million of personal work, including the repair of his house, in 2010. It also stated that McClendon had used corporate planes for non-business-related travel for the McClendons' family and friends. According to Chesapeake’s proxy statement filed with the SEC on May 11, 2012, McClendon reimbursed the company for all but $250,000 of the employee costs. 
McClendon retired from the company on April 1, 2013.
Natural gas advocacy
McClendon is known as an outspoken advocate for the expanded use of natural gas as a cleaner alternative than oil for transportation fuel and coal electric power generation. On November 14, 2010, McClendon appeared on 60 Minutes, making a case for natural gas as a clean fuel and a significant job-creating industry. He also defended the natural gas and oil industry’s use of hydraulic fracturing techniques for well completion.
McClendon is a founding member of America’s Natural Gas Alliance (ANGA), a Washington, D.C.-based trade organization of independent natural gas producers.
NBA Oklahoma City Thunder
In 2008, the NBA had fined McClendon $250,000 for comments he made in The (Oklahoma City) Journal Record about his hopes of moving the Seattle Sonics to Oklahoma City. Specifically, his statement that the ownership group "didn't buy the team to keep it in Seattle." PBC Chairman Clayton Bennett stated that McClendon does not speak for the OKC Thunder franchise (then the Seattle Supersonics) in any official capacity, and therefore was simply stating his own personal opinions. Subsequently, PBC and the City of Seattle settled their disagreements, and the team moved to Oklahoma City for the 2008-09 season where it was renamed the Thunder.
Saugatuck Township Settlement
From 2004 to 2006, McClendon bought 400 acres of undeveloped duneland fronting Lake Michigan in Saugatuck Township, Michigan, for $39.5 million with plans to build luxury homes, 28 condos, a hotel, a marina and a golf course. In 2006, prior to McClendon finalizing the sale but after McClendon had signed contracts to purchase and without notice to McClendon, the Saugatuck Township Board rezoned the land to R-4, severely restricting the use of the land and requiring a PUD for any development, generally treating this land in a different fashion than any other land in Saugatuck Township. The Saugatuck Dunes Coastal Alliance opposes McClendon's plans, citing environmental concerns. In 2009, McClendon sold 171 acres of the land to a conservancy. In March 2010, McClendon sued the township in federal court to overturn the zoning. In July 2011, McClendon and the Township Board submitted a proposed Consent Agreement to the court for approval.  In November 2011, Judge Maloney rejected the proposed Consent Agreement, but outlined a way for the parties to proceed toward a conclusion of the litigation.
McClendon has been highly involved in the architecture of Chesapeake’s headquarters campus in Oklahoma City as well as his other private building endeavors in Oklahoma City. Working exclusively with Oklahoma City-based award-winning architect Rand Elliott, Chesapeake’s 50-acre Oklahoma City headquarters campus has won more than 24 national and international design awards since 2003.
Between 2000-04, McClendon donated $700,000 to a variety of Republican candidates and conservative interest groups. Most notable of these was a $250,000 donation to Swift Vets and POWs for Truth, a group whose purpose was to oppose John Kerry's candidacy for the presidency in 2004. McClendon's donation made him the eighth-largest contributor to the group.
In 2007 McClendon bought several full-page ads supporting the Duke men's lacrosse team in the 2006 Duke University lacrosse case. The case was ultimately dismissed, and the Durham County prosecutor who brought the case was forced to resign and was disbarred.
McClendon is one of the nation’s 100 largest land owners according the magazine Land Report and is the largest investor in Bloomington, Indiana-based ProCure Treatment Centers, the world's leader in commercializing a revolutionary cancer treatment using proton therapy.
He also is owner of the iconic POPS restaurant located on historic Route 66 in Arcadia, Oklahoma, which features the world's largest collection (more than 500 varieties) of soda pops for sale at one site. POPS has won numerous architectural awards and has been featured in a wide variety of magazines and television shows since it opened in 2007.
In addition, McClendon is noted for his philanthropic generosity, having donated more than $75 million in the past 15 years to a variety of institutions, most notable of which have been Duke University in Durham, N.C.; Heritage Hall and Casady college preparatory private high schools in Oklahoma City, and the University of Oklahoma, where in 2008 the university’s Honors College was named in honor of his parents.
After investor complaints noted that McClendon was allowed to invest in wells drilled by Chesapeake Energy, the practice was halted by the company's board and several loans from business partners of the company were called into question.
From 2004 to 2008, McClendon, while CEO of Chesapeake Energy, also ran a hedge fund that traded in commodities including natural gas and oil. The fund, Heritage Management Company LLC, was undisclosed to shareholders and drew concerns and criticsm over McClendon's fiduciary duty to shareholders.
- Aubrey McClendon - Forbes, Forbes.com. Retrieved May 2011.
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- Chesapeake Energy History
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- Chesapeake Energy CEO forced to sell company stock
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- DeCarlo, Scott (28 April 2011). "The CEO 20-20 Club". Forbes Blogs. Retrieved 27 May 2011.
- Ernst & Young. "Redefining an industry: Aubrey K. McClendon, CEO of Chesapeake Energy Corporation, named Ernst & Young National Entrepreneur Of The Year® 2011 Energy, Cleantech and Natural Resources Award winner". Press Release. Retrieved 17 November 2011.
- "Chesapeake shares tumble on CEO loan worries". Reuters. April 18, 2012. Retrieved April 19, 2012.
- "Chesapeake Energy Corporation Board and Aubrey K. McClendon Agree to Early Termination of Founder Well Participation Program". Chesapeake Energy Corporation. Retrieved 22 June 2012.
- "Official notification to shareholders of matters to be brought to a vote ("Proxy")". Retrieved 21 June 2012.
- Joe Carroll, "Chesapeake Appoints Dunham Chairman, Stripping McClendon", Bloomberg Businessweek, June 21, 2012.
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- "CBS News". CBS News. 14 November 2010. Retrieved 26 May 2011.
- Forbes http://www.forbes.com/profile/aubrey-mcclendon
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- Seattle Times - Co-Owner Fined
- "A Billionaire's Dune Duel"
- View the filing.
- Malony, Paul L. "OPINION AND ORDER DENYING MOTION FOR ENTRY OF CONSENT JUDGMENT". Court filing. Retrieved 15 December 2011.
- FEC Disclosure
- Schouten, Fredreka (30 June 2008). "Price of Power: McCain accepts ex-Swift Boaters' donations". USA Today. Retrieved 27 May 2011.
- Oklahoma City Businessman Buys Ads Supporting Duke Team, WSOC Charlotte (accessed June 1, 2010).
- Mecoy, Don (8 July 2009). "Q&A with Aubrey K. McClendon: Innovative cancer treatment attracted large investment". Daily Oklahoman. Retrieved 27 May 2011.
- "Bottoms Up For Pops". Blog. Route 66 News. Retrieved 27 May 2011.
- "McClendons give $12.5 million to support various academic and athletics projects at OU". University of Oklahoma. 8 May 2008. Retrieved 27 May 2011.
- "McClendon's Secret Hedge Fund Appears To Violate His Fiduciary Duty To Chesapeake". Forbes. May 2, 2012. Retrieved May 2, 2012.
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