Chesapeake To Move Forward With New Chief

The US shale producer exited bankruptcy in February and said it will seek a new permanent CEO.

Source: Chesapeake Energy.

US shale producer Chesapeake Energy announced on Wednesday that CEO Doug Lawler is stepping down. The interim chief will be Mike Wichterich who was appointed by the company’s creditors as its new chairman upon its exit from bankruptcy in February.

“On behalf of the Board of Directors, Chesapeake's employees and its shareholders, I would like to thank Doug for the vision and leadership he provided for the past 8 years. He guided Chesapeake through a difficult period, repositioned Chesapeake's portfolio of assets, and built a corporate culture which will serve as a platform for future success. I firmly believe that the investment thesis supporting Chesapeake is compelling, and my confidence in the renewed strength of the company continues to grow,” Wichterich said in a statement.

The Oklahoma City-based company completed a court-supervised bankruptcy process earlier this year which converted about $7.8 billion of corporate debt into equity for the company’s lienholders. The restructuring left the company with over $1.2 billion in outstanding debt.

The company’s goal is to generate cumulative free cash flow of at least $2 billion over the next 5 years. Chesapeake’s average production for the 2020 fourth quarter was approximately 435,000 BOED, and it projects its full year 2021 average production to be approximately 427,000 BOED.

Chesapeake will look for a new permanent CEO at which point Wichterich will retain his role as board chairman.

Prior to Chesapeake, Lawler was a senior vice president of international and deepwater operations for Anadarko Petroleum. He also oversaw Anadarko’s operations in the southern US and Appalachian regions.