The Honeymoon is Over for Chesapeake CEO Doug Lawler

It seems that Doug Lawler, the embattled CEO of Chesapeake Energy, just can’t catch a break. We frequently bust on Lawler for his mass-firings when he took the helm at the company–at the prompting of his overlords, the corporate raider brothers Mason Hawkins and Carl Icahn, Chessy’s two largest stockholders. In a recent Wall Street Journal interview, Lawler blames his predecessor, Aubrey McClendon, for his inability to dig Cheapeake out of the hole it’s in (see WSJ: Chesapeake’s Boss Faces Tall Order). Never a good sign when you start blaming the person who held the job before you–a sign of weakness and a character flaw if you ask us. Although Lawler enjoyed a honeymoon with the financial press and with analysts, that period is now officially over. Some analysts are turning against Lawler and his lackluster performance at the helm of Chesapeake. Chesapeake’s stock (i.e. equity) has plunged 77% this year alone. On Friday, Moody’s Investors Service downgraded Chesapeake’s bonds and notes (i.e. debt) to junk bond status. Just to add insult to injury, one analyst writing for The Motley Fool nominated Doug Lawler for “Worst CEO in the Energy Sector” for 2015. If old Doug isn’t careful, the ax he likes to swing may boomerang back…

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