Former CEO Aubrey McClendon killed in crash following charges


Aubrey McClendon, the former CEO of Chesapeake Energy, died in a fiery vehicle crash in Oklahoma City on Wednesday, March 2 - just one day after he was charged with conspiring to rig bids for oil and natural gas leases. The indictment followed a four year JOD investigation.

Industry executives and state officials remembered McClendon as a "visionary" who ushered in a new era of U.S. energy abundance by pursuing the hydraulic fracturing technology that would unlock decades' worth of domestic natural gas and oil resources.

McClendon was instrumental to bringing the Thunder to Oklahoma City.

"He pretty much drove straight into the wall", Balderrama said. He co-founded Chesapeake with fellow Oklahoma oilman Tom Ward in 1989.

He resigned from the firm in 2013 after a corporate governance crisis over his heavy spending. The company provided some of McClendon's favorite books to Chesapeake workers.

"The charge that has been filed against me today is wrong and unprecedented", McClendon said.

"I've known Aubrey McClendon for almost 25 years".

Chesapeake itself is unlikely to face criminal prosecution, the company said. A Department of Justice spokesman declined to comment Wednesday on the status of the case.

Police said the vehicle was so badly burned they were unable to tell if McClendon was wearing his seat belt.

Authorities held a press conference later in the day to confirm the victim's identity.

Police would not say whether the death was a suicide or not yet. He died in the crash, and no other cars were involved.

McClendon was indicted Tuesday on charges he conspired to rig bids for oil and natural gas leases. Questions about his financial practices - namely, the mixing of company and personal deals - led to his ouster in 2013. He and other companies allegedly colluded to figure out who would win the bids.

So what: Thanks to a boost in oil prices that has West Texas Intermediate hovering close to $35 a barrel for the first time in a couple of months, it appears that the market is getting a little more hopeful that higher oil and gas prices will help to pull highly indebted oil and gas producers such as Chesapeake out of the doldrums. Chesapeake's stock price has tumbled more than 80 percent in the past year.

In his last few years at the company, all employees also received a collection of some of McClendon's favorite quotes, which ran on the company's internal website and were emailed to employees daily.

While at Chesapeake, he met in small groups with new employees to get to know them, even as the company grew beyond 10,000 employees.

In a statement released Tuesday after his indictment, McClendon denied violating antitrust laws.

"His actions put company profits ahead of the interests of leaseholders entitled to competitive bids", said Bill Baer, assistant attorney general in the Justice Department's Antitrust Division.