Chesapeake Energy Corporation Appoints New General Counsel

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CBS News Money Watch reported that Chesapeake Energy Corporation shares fell in price on Wednesday after an analyst changed their status from a “Buy” to “Hold” flag. This is the latest in a downward spiral in market value that started in February of 2011 following controversy surrounding the corporation’s founder and CEO Aubrey McClendon combined with abnormally low natural gas prices. While Chesapeake’s stocks have made limited gains since May, they have not recovered the nearly half of original market value lost.

The company made a move to win back the faith of its share holders earlier this week, promoting attorney James Webb from a consulting role to general counsel. Webb had been working for Chesapeake for four months on a contract basis, and now steps into the position left vacant by Henry Hood who was general counsel between April 2006 and June 2012. Hood remains with the corporation in a management capacity for the land and regulatory departments.

Webb takes the position at a time when Chesapeake is facing serious legal allegations. Shareholders are sueing for money lost in the dip of market value after McClendon’s  personal loans of up to $1 billion from the company came to light. Reuters reported that the U.S. Department of Justice is looking into Chesapeake under potential antitrust violations resulting from alleged complicity with Encana Corporation, another large natural gas producer, in Michigan land deals.

Webb brings years of experience to the table. He received his law degree from Washington University in St. Louis, worked at Gorsuch Kirgis in Denver, and spent 17 years at Oklahoma’s largest law firm, McAfee & Taft. Chesapeake’s telegraphed message with this staff change is that, they hear the shareholder concerns, they are taking them seriously, and they intend to change company staff to make the necessary recovery.

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