U.S. Chesapeake Energy says no board members interviewing to take up CEO post

A drilling rig operates in the Permian Basin oil and natural gas producing area in Lea County
A drilling rig operates in the Permian Basin oil and natural gas production area in Lea County, New Mexico, U.S., February 10, 2019. REUTERS/Nick Oxford

May 12 (Reuters) - Chesapeake Energy Corp (CHK.O) said on Wednesday no members of its board of directors were interviewing to take over from former chief executive Doug Lawler, who resigned last month after leading the company through its Chapter 11 bankruptcy.

Interim-CEO Mike Wichterich said the search for a replacement would take a few months, adding that Lawler had not left because of any action and strategy was unchanged. He said the board wanted a fresh start as it emerged from bankruptcy.

Chesapeake, once the second largest U.S. natural gas producer, exited bankruptcy protection in February. Wichterich said there were no other plans to change management but said the company had to work on lifting morale.

"Staff has every reason to be demoralized after eight hard years" and bankruptcy, he told investors, adding the company was "tired of getting punched in the face by a balance sheet."

The Oklahoma City-based company reported a profit of $295 million for the quarter. Its shares were up 5.6% in early trading to $51.83.

Chesapeake, which hedged some 19 million barrels of 2021 production at $42.69 a barrel, said it anticipated a little under $400 million in full-year hedging losses at current prices. read more

Reporting by Liz Hampton in Denver

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