As Aubrey McClendon Raises More Money, Chesapeake Fires More People

Paul Ausick

Aubrey McClendon, co-founder and former CEO of Chesapeake Energy Corp. (CHK), has raised about $1.7 billion for the new company he founded almost as soon as the ink was dry on his firing notice. McClendon's new firm, American Energy Partners, plans to take a significant position in the Utica shale play in eastern Ohio.

Meanwhile, just up the road from McClendon's new company, Chesapeake is laying off people and eliminating some of the extravagances that were McClendon's legacy to Chesapeake. Those and about $11 billion in debt.

Chesapeake said on Tuesday that it had cut about 1,200 jobs so far this year, with 800 getting the boot Tuesday, including more than 600 at the company's Oklahoma City headquarters. Chesapeake employs about 11,000 people, even after the job cuts.

One of the first to go was the company's personal meteorologist, who pulled down a salary of $350,000, according to a report from Reuters. Three chaplains, seven chefs, two company archivists, a staff of 15 at the company's fitness center and one gardener also are looking for jobs.

American Energy Partners expects to begin drilling its first well on its Utica shale leases before the end of this year. Chesapeake is the largest lease-holder and operator in the Utica shale play, but it is looking to shed several assets in Ohio.

Shares of Chesapeake are down about 0.5% in early trading Wednesday, at $25.92 in a 52-week range of $16.23 to $27.46.