2014: New Chesapeake CEO Discusses Challenges, Vision For Futur - News9.com - Oklahoma City, OK - News, Weather, Video and Sports |

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2014: New Chesapeake CEO Discusses Challenges, Vision For Future

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OKLAHOMA CITY -

"A little bit uncomfortable," that's how the CEO of Chesapeake Energy said it felt taking the reins of the oil and gas company from Aubrey McClendon in 2013. 

Not only did Doug Lawler assume control of a company that was struggling with both performance and governance issues, he was stepping into the shoes of a man he called a "visionary entrepreneur."  "It was an interesting change for me," said Lawler, cracking a grin that seemed to signal this was an understatement.

Since coming to Chesapeake, Lawler has been busy -- initiating a transformation that included laying off nearly 10 percent of Chesapeake's workforce, but which, Lawler said, should position the company for long-term success.

In his first broadcast interview since arriving in Oklahoma City, Lawler addressed a variety of topics, but none more difficult than his decision to cut 1,000 jobs.

"It's a very painful thing," Lawler said. "It's very hard to say goodbye to fellow employees and individuals that have worked hard to build the company."

Lawler admitted employee morale was not perfect.  With all the recent change, he said there was still some frustration and concern. But, he said, the 'right-sizing' is complete, and does not anticipate any more layoffs.

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