* Director V. Burns Hargis resigned
* Ex-Pride CEO Louis Raspino to replace Hargis
* Chesapeake shares rise 5.6 pct
March 7 Chesapeake Energy Corp said the
chairman of its audit committee has stepped down as planned
following the completion of the company's probe into the
financial dealings of outgoing Chief Executive Aubrey McClendon.
V. Burns Hargis, the president of Oklahoma State University,
said in June he would resign after winning fewer than
one-quarter of shareholder votes cast for his re-election to the
As audit committee chief, Hargis headed the board's
investigation into McClendon's potential conflicts, so he
remained as a director until that probe was completed.
Much of the committee's attention focused on a controversial
perk granting McClendon a stake in every well the company
drilled. The probe was completed in February and found no
"intentional" wrongdoing on the part of McClendon.
Michael Garland, a New York City official who is the leading
shareholder activist for the city's pension funds, said Hargis'
departure was overdue and "closes a costly chapter for the
Chesapeake board, which must now focus like a laser on restoring
long-term shareowner value."
New York City holds 1.7 million shares of Chesapeake stock
valued at $33 million.
The chairman of Chesapeake's board, Archie Dunham, said
Hargis led the audit committee and the recent review with the
"utmost professionalism and integrity".
Louis Raspino, chief executive of oil and gas service
company Pride International Inc before its 2011 merger with
Ensco Plc, was elected to replace Hargis, the company
said in a release, adding that he had also been appointed
chairman of the audit committee.
Raspino will stand for re-election at the company's
shareholder meeting in June.
Chesapeake and McClendon are under investigation by the U.S.
Securities and Exchange Commission in connection with the
company's Founder Well Participation Program perk for McClendon.
The company also faces a U.S. Department of Justice probe into
possible antitrust violations for land deals the company made in
Chesapeake shares closed 5.6 percent higher at $20.85 on the
New York Stock Exchange on Thursday.