Not long ago it would have seemed like an April Fool's joke: On Monday, Aubrey McClendon stepped down from the company he co-founded in 1989.
The company announced Friday that it would create a three-person Office of the Chairman to facilitate finding McClendon's replacement. In the interim, the company named Chief Operating Officer Steve Dixon as acting CEO. Others included are nonexecutive Chairman Archie Dunham and Chief Financial Officer Nick Dell'Osso.
During a quarterly earnings call with analysts Monday, Dixon began with praise for McClendon's wisdom and service to Chesapeake and the oil and gas industry but declined to speculate on when the company would find his replacement. Published reports indicated that the company had come close to making an offer but talks fell apart.
"Those are speculations and we won't address that. This is the board's decision," Dixon said.
McClendon's tenure was marked by large deals and purchase of huge acreages. The company now is focused on paring its massive holdings. Known for its free-spending ways, Chesapeake is on track to finish the year under-budget, Dixon said in the conference call.
Chesapeake had no comment Monday on McClendon's departure.