Chesapeake Energy CEO and co-founder, Aubrey McClendon, will retire April 1, 2013. Tuesday's announcement has many people wondering what McClendon's departure means for the nonprofit organizations for which he was instrumental in gaining support.
Metro charitable organization officials say McClendon's leadership created a culture of giving at Chesapeake. It's a more than two-decade legacy of generosity of which they are hopeful will continue.
"Chesapeake has always been a strong partner to the nonprofit sector and so has Aubrey McClendon," Debby Hampton, United Way of Central Oklahoma president said.
Chesapeake is the top donor to organizations throughout the metro, including the United Way. Three months ago, McClendon's corporation dished out more than $5.5 million to the organization.
"You could probably find … a Chesapeake employee … on any non-profit board," Hampton said. "I don't foresee that changing."
Leaders of Oklahoma City's charities could see cutbacks, but they are confident the Chesapeake spirit of giving will continue. Oklahoma Center for Nonprofits president Marnie Taylor was sad to learn her friend would be leaving his CEO post. She works in a plaza McClendon funded for the headquarters of area nonprofits.
A few weeks ago, when Taylor was asked about Chesapeake pulling back from charitable giving she said, when she thinks of Chesapeake she sees the faces of the people with the company, not dollar signs.
"He started a small company, and from the very beginning, he reached out incredibly to give back to the community," Taylor said.
Moments after McClendon's retirement announcement, Chesapeake stock began to climb.