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Chesapeake Shrinking, More Layoffs Possible

Chesapeake Energy Corp. is restructuring in more ways than one, with more layoffs expected across the nationwide organization.

In an internal email obtained by NGI, CEO Doug Lawler said most of the layoffs should be completed by November.

Last month some of the top brass was fired, including CEO Steve Dixon, and some former executives from Lawler's former workplace, Anadarko Petroleum Corp., were installed (see Daily GPISept. 3).

Also let go recently was Chesapeake's seven-person staff that oversaw natural gas vehicle projects. In addition, three inhouse chaplains are gone, the company beekeeper is out and other projects are gone or downsized, including a community garden in Oklahoma City.

"I recognize and understand that the last few weeks have been especially challenging for everyone," Lawler's memo states. "Because misinformation and uncertainty can divert our attention and focus, I wanted to reach out to each of you and clarify a few important issues."

The "brightest future for Chesapeake requires all of us to successfully execute our renewed focus on financial discipline and profitable and efficient growth from captured resources. Consistent with this strategy, and as previously discussed, a comprehensive review of all areas of our business is underway, led by leaders and employees from all levels of the organization."

The goal is to complete the process "as quickly as possible," with a probable end date of Nov. 1.

Adaption is required, said the CEO, for Chesapeake to become a sustainable, profitable company in the energy sector. "Future staffing adjustments will likely be necessary to properly align resources and improve our overall operating and competitive performance."

Lawler said he would "welcome the chance to hear directly from you, and I promise to read every word." He also advised the workforce that the company had a free and confidential employee assistance program to assist with transitions.

Chesapeake has declined to comment to the media, including rumors by some employees, one of whom told NGI that as many as 2,000 could be fired from the company, which now employs about 12,000. By comparison, Anadarko had 5,200 employees at the end of 2012, and its share price is more than $90.00. Chesapeake on Wednesday was trading up at around $27.00. 

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