Chesapeake CEO leaves mixed legacy

Friday’s column, available on

It’s still all about Aubrey.

Even with Aubrey McClendon’s spontaneous “retirement” this week, Chesapeake Energy can’t easily disentangle itself from its former chief executive’s legacy.

McClendon may define the company’s past, but he also laid the foundation for its future.

He leaves behind a conundrum of corporate governance, a past of runaway executive pay and perks, yet also a prime array of oil and gas properties that will likely form the basis of the company’s turnaround.

“The portfolio of assets are the best set of assets of any company in the world,” Chesapeake Chairman Archie Dunham told me in an interview. “We have the sweet spot. You have to give Aubrey and the board great credit for that.”

About The Author

Loren Steffy is the business columnist for the Houston Chronicle. His column appears in on Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays. He is also the author of "Drowning in Oil: BP and the Reckless Pursuit of Profit," and "The Man Who Thought Like a Ship."