Chesapeake names Archie Dunham its nonexecutive chairman

Chesapeake Energy Corp.’s board appointed Archie W. Dunham, former ConocoPhillips chairman and former chief executive officer of Conoco, as Chesapeake’s new independent nonexecutive chairman. Dunham has had no previous relationship with Chesapeake.

 As expected, Aubrey K. McClendon relinquished the position of chairman but remains a director and will continue to serve as Chesapeake’s chief executive officer and president.

Dunham said he sees “exceptional opportunities ahead” for Chesapeake, which is working to sell assets and reduce debt amid questions about its financial practices.

“As I evaluated this opportunity, I was attracted by the clear mandate to provide strong oversight while working closely with the company’s exceptional management team,” Dunham said.

Chesapeake’s board also appointed four other new independent directors. Three were proposed by Southeastern Asset Management, Chesapeake’s largest shareholder with a 13.9% ownership stake, and one proposed by Carl C. Icahn, Chesapeake’s second largest shareholder with a 7.6% stake. The new director proposed by Icahn is Vincent J. Intrieri.

As previously announced, the board will also take the necessary actions to enable shareholders to elect the entire board at the 2013 annual meeting of shareholders.

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