March 7, 2013 / 4:53 PM / 5 years ago

Chesapeake audit committee chair resigns board

(Reuters) - Chesapeake Energy Corp (CHK.N) 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 Officer Aubrey McClendon.

Chesapeake Energy Corporation's 50 acre campus is seen in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, on April 17, 2012. REUTERS/Steve Sisney

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 board.

As audit committee head, 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 was 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.

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, formerly the chief executive of oil and gas service company Pride International Inc before its 2011 merger with Ensco Plc (ESV.N), will replace Hargis, the company said.

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 related to the its Founder Well Participation Program perk for McClendon. The company also faces a U.S. Department of Justice probe into possible anti-trust violations for land deals the company made in Michigan.

Chesapeake shares rose nearly 2 percent to $20.10 on the New York Stock Exchange early on Thursday.

Reporting by Anna Driver in New York and Krishna N. Das in Bangalore; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila, Supriya Kurane and Alden Bentley

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