Aubrey McClendon, R.I.P.
May God pour out peace on the family and friends of Aubrey McClendon, former CEO of Chesapeake Energy, who died yesterday in an automobile crash.
I hope his family and friends will work through their tragic loss and find peace at the end of the journey.
Mr. McClendon was a pioneer in the radical transformation of the energy industry in the U.S., having been a leading entrepreneur in extracting natural gas and crude oil from rock that was untouchable before the 1990s.
The day before the crash, 3/1/16, he was indicted by the federal government alleging that he conspired to hold down prices on leases during 2007 through 2012 during the time he was chief executive of Chesapeake Energy Corp. In brief, the allegation is he and an unnamed company divvied up the potential leases, deciding that one or the other would not bid, thus allegedly rigging prices to landowners.
In a statement Mr. McClendon denied the charges and said he would fight to clear his name.
He pointed out that in over 110 years of the history of the Sherman Antitrust Act, he is the only executive in the oil and gas industry to have been charged with violating the act.
Regrettably, with his untimely passing, we won’t get to find out if he was really a crook cheating on leases, playing a bit more dirty than usual in a dirty industry, was the first step of extracting money from the industry (see sundry bank settlements), or just rubbed the DoJ the wrong way.
For more info, check out:
- 3/1 – Wall Street Journal – Ex-Chesapeake Energy CEO Aubrey McClendon Indicted on Antitrust Charges
- 3/2 – Wall Street Journal – Indicted Ex-Chesapeake Energy CEO Aubrey McClendon Dies in Car Crash