Aubrey McClendon was born on July 14, 1959, in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, to Joe Conner and Carole Kerr McClendon. McClendon died in a car accident on March 2, 2016. He was the great-nephew of Robert S. Kerr who was the founder of an oil and gas company, governor of Oklahoma, and a U.S. Senator.
Aubrey McClendon graduated from Duke University in 1981 with a BA in history. He started his first oil and natural gas investment company, Chesapeake Investments, in 1982 at the age of 23. In 1989 he co-founded Chesapeake Energy Corporation with Tom L. Ward, who is now CEO of Sandridge Energy Corporation.
In 1993 McClendon took Chesapeake Energy public. Chesapeake is now the second largest producer of natural gas, the most active driller using hydraulic fracturing, and one of the top 15 oil producers in the United States. It is also the largest leasehold owner in the U.S. with approximately 14 million net acres under lease.
McClendon served as CEO of Chesapeake Energy until April 2013 when he was forced out of the company after a scandal revealed McClendon's personal finances were being managed by the company. McClendon still owns 2.5% stake in tens of thousands of gas wells owned by Chesapeake and continues attempting to influence operations at the company.
McClendon was a director of Sundrop Fuels, a company attempting to create synthetic gasoline from methane and biomass.
McClendon had a massive wine collection, which he auctioned as “The Aubrey McClendon Collection.”
"It's time to get bullish on natural gas."
“Environmental activists … that I have talked to continue to naively presume that our great country need only rely on wind and solar energy to meet our current and future energy needs.”
"We are cleaning the environment because when you burn more gas, you're burning less coal, and we think in time we can burn less imported oil. So why The New York Times or any group of environmentalists would think it was somehow in their best interest to bash the natural gas industry is a real mystery of life."
"I can assure you that buying leases for x and selling them for 5x or 10x is a lot more profitable than trying to produce gas at $5 or $6 per million cubic feet."
"We're the biggest frackers in the world, we frack all the time. Whats the big deal?"
"Would people cheat on climate science? Sure. Because all it is a model into which there are 2,000 variables, and if I want this outcome, I nudge that one up a little and down a little bit, and there you go."
Aubrey McClendon received $112 million dollars in pay in 2008, making him the highest paid CEO of all S&P 500 companies and the highest paid CEO in the US. 2008 was the first time since AP started analyzing CEO pay that anyone topped $100 million.
Aubrey McClendon was worth $1.2 billion as of 2011, including a 19% ownership of the NBA’s Oklahoma City Thunder. He was one of the 100 largest land owners in the United States.In 2010, McClendon announced that Chesapeake would gain 50% of its revenues come from oil production by the end of 2013.
McClendon is the chairman of the board for American Clean Skies Foundation, a front group for the natural gas industry which has attacked scientific studies on the green house gas effect of gas drilling. The group claims to “advance America’s energy independence and a cleaner, low-carbon environment through expanded use of natural gas, renewables and efficiency.”
McClendon is also is a founding member of America’s Natural Gas Alliance (ANGA), which is the gas industry’s lobbying and influence peddling arm. Like Clean Skies Foundation, ANGA has attacked scientific studies on the green house gas emissions from gas drilling.
McClendon was the eighth largest donor to Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, a group conceived by right wing PR companies, including climate science denier Marc Morano, to smear John Kerry during the 2004 presidential election.
McClendon has attacked journalists who cover the gas industry, launching a PR campaign to discredit news stories that question Chesapeake Energy. His reaction to press scrutiny has been called "war-like" by Foriegn Policy Magazine.
McClendon secretly gave $26 million to the Sierra Club to fight the construction of coal plants.
Aubrey McClendon is embroiled in a legal battle over the Saugatuck Dunes on the coast of Lake Michigan. His attempt to develop the rare and environmentally sensitive area with a nine-story hotel, a marina and a golf course, have been opposed by the local people and are against local zoning laws. McClendon has filed lawsuits against the township responsible for zoning and has aggressively attacked groups trying to preserve the dunes.
In June 2012, a Reuter’s article exposed Aubrey McClendon for using millions of corporate dollars and resources for personal expenses. As a result, the Board of Directors decided to strip McClendon of his title as chairman but he remained the CEO. After the decision was made, the Board of Directors altered the company’s bylaws, allowing McClendon to retain his executive powers as chairman. Archie Dunham, former Chairman of ConocoPhillips, was appointed as the Non-Executive Chairman.
In April 2013, however, amid conflicts with shareholders concerning the company's spending and governance, McClendon was ousted from Chesapeake. He subsequentley created anoter oil-and-gas company, American Energy Partners LP, which is valued at $5 billion.
Propublica rundown of Mcclendon's shady dealings.