Chesapeake Energy announced yesterday that the program they’ve had in place with CEO Aubrey McClendon that grants him 2.5 percent ownership and participation in every well drilled by the company (called the Founder Well Participation Program) will end in 2015 at the latest, and possibly sooner. The company also seemed to backpedal a bit from an earlier statement that the board was “fully aware” of McClendon’s private financing deals, deals that he used to cover his 2.5 percent portion of drilling expenses.
From the Chesapeake press release:
Chesapeake Energy Corporation today announced that its Board of Directors has determined that it does not intend to extend the company’s Founder Well Participation Program (FWPP) with its chief executive officer, Aubrey K. McClendon, beyond its present 10-year term ending December 31, 2015. The Board of Directors and Mr. McClendon have committed to negotiate the early termination of the FWPP and the amendment to Mr. McClendon’s employment agreement necessary to effectuate the early termination. The FWPP, which was approved by shareholders for a 10-year term in 2005, in conjunction with Mr. McClendon’s employment agreement with the company, provides Mr. McClendon a contractual right to participate and invest as a working interest owner (with up to a 2.5% working interest) in new wells drilled on the company’s leasehold.
Following consultation with the company’s Board of Directors, Mr. McClendon will separately disclose supplemental information regarding the interests he has acquired through the company’s Founder Well Participation Program as of December 31, 2011. The company also announced the Board of Directors is reviewing the financing arrangements between Mr. McClendon (and the entities through which he participates in the FWPP) and any third party that has had or may have a relationship with the company in any capacity.
Chesapeake also wishes to clarify a statement appearing in its April 18, 2012 press release captioned “Chesapeake Energy Corporation General Counsel Henry J. Hood Issues Statement.” The statement that “the Board of Directors is fully aware of the existence of Mr. McClendon’s financing transactions” was intended to convey the fact that the Board of Directors is generally aware that Mr. McClendon used interests acquired through his participation in the FWPP as security in personal financing transactions. The Board of Directors did not review, approve or have knowledge of the specific transactions engaged in by Mr. McClendon or the terms of those transactions.*
*Chesapeake Energy (Apr 26, 2012) – Chesapeake Energy Corporation’s Board and CEO Aubrey K. McClendon Agree to Negotiate Early Termination of Founder Well Participation Program