Can Things Change For Chesapeake Energy Corporation (NYSE:CHK)?


Doug Lawler has been taking several significant measures to turn Chesapeake Energy Corporation (NYSE:CHK) around financially, culturally and operationally. Two years ago, Lawler stepped into a distressed firm. When he took over as CEO at Chesapeake, the company seen as an icon of the energy boom, was distressed: financially, culturally and operationally.

The scenario

The company was deep-rooted in debt and recording exceptional outflow of funds it didn’t have. It dealt with numerous probes and lawsuits challenging its business practices. Activist investors had forced out Chesapeake charismatic co-founder, Mr. Aubrey McClendon, who was responsible to make almost every decision at the firm, down to the form of cheese served in any organization cafeterias.

At that time Mr. Lawler had big boots to fill. However, the CEO believes that there is a type of any inference that taking place of someone implies following the same path they did. But it is not the case with him as he plans to change everything.

The challenge

Lawler need to deal with the challenge at a time when the entire energy industry is struggling to cope up with plunging gas and oil prices. But the obstacles are extreme in Chesapeake Energy’s case. Therefore, Lawler has fetched no public criticism, not even from ex-executives. Lawler begun his career at Kerr-McGee Corp., which was acquired by Anadarko Petroleum Corp.  He speedily climbed the ranks in Anadarko; by the time Chesapeake Energy’s recruiters approached in 2013, Lawler was a member of Anadarko’s executive committee, and in the race to head the firm someday.

Considering that Chesapeake Energy Corporation (NYSE:CHK)’s woes had been the subject matter of the energy industry and highlighted in the national press, Lawler thought he was aware of how distressed the company was. He refused to meet the board twicebefore deciding to accept the new challenging role.