On March 2, 2016, power tycoon Aubrey McClendon drove his Chevy Tahoe straight onto a concrete bridge at 88 mph. He was unbuckled and the SUV went up in flames. McClendon was killed immediately.
The information was surprising. Not simply domestically in Oklahoma Metropolis, but in addition nationally. The 56-year-old was a one-off high-flying company govt. In 2008, McClendon was the highest-paid CEO of any S&P 500 firm with a complete compensation package deal of $ 112 million. On the peak of his profession, Aubrey was price round $ 1 billion. He was one of many largest landowners in the US, proudly owning 100,000 acres. He even owned 20% of the NBA’s Oklahoma Metropolis Thunder.
Aubrey McClendon had all of it. What led to this tragic finish?
A day earlier than Aubrey’s loss of life, March 1, McClendon was indicted by a federal grand jury. He was accused of violating antitrust legal guidelines from 2007 to 2012 whereas he was CEO of Chesapeake Power.
Individuals who knew McClendon stated he was a contented, optimistic, and sociable individual. Ultimately, nonetheless, his life went up in flames.
McClendon co-founded Chesapeake Power and made it the second largest fuel producer. Solely Exxon Cell was larger. He had a bigger than life persona. He was good and bold and never a rule-follower. He was a pioneer within the controversial fracking trade.
McClendon grew up in Oklahoma. He was president of his senior class in highschool and co-valedictorian. He visited Duke the place he met his future spouse Kathleen Upton Byrns. He has a BA in historical past and a minor in accounting. After faculty, he first labored as an accountant. Then in the future he learn an article within the Wall Road Journal about two males who bought their state to an power firm for $ 100 million. He bought a job at Jaytex Oil and Gasoline, his uncle Aubrey Kerr’s firm. He left this job in 1982 to begin his personal firm.
In 1989, McClendon and his buddy Tom Ward based Chesapeake Power with $ 50,000. He was 29. They leased land that main oil and fuel corporations had given up. They selected the title for his or her firm as a result of if the corporate failed they might distance themselves extra from it than if it was known as McClendon Ward.
McClendon was one of many first to make use of the now controversial fracking technique to free pure fuel storage services from thick layers of rock. Chesapeake drilled the aspect of the formations, blew them aside with explosives, after which pumped in water and sand to maintain the cracks open so the fuel may break down. Fracking is at the moment accused of poisoning consuming water, polluting the air and inflicting earthquakes. Nonetheless, it’s also credited with decreasing US reliance on overseas oil.
Chesapeake Power went public in 1993. On the time, the corporate’s market capitalization was $ 25 million.
Chesapeake thrived for the subsequent few years. They ran right into a roadblock in 1997 when one in every of Chesapeake’s principal oil fields was not producing as a lot as anticipated. McClendon tried to promote the corporate in 1998, however there have been no patrons. That labored out properly as a result of pure fuel costs rose within the early 2000s.
America’s Most Ruthless Billionaire
By 2008, a decade after Chesapeake hit all-time low, McClendon was the highest-paid CEO of any S&P 500 firm with a $ 112 million compensation package deal. That very same 12 months, he was advised that his shares weren’t priceless sufficient to be eligible for a margin mortgage. He was compelled to promote most of his 31.5 million shares, representing 94% of Chesapeake. In 2009, the corporate gave McClendon a five-year retention contract and a $ 75 million bonus.
In a 2011 cowl story, Forbes named McClendon “America’s Most Ruthless Billionaire” and famous his danger tolerance and recklessness in promoting his shares in 2008.
Chesapeake had decreased US dependence on overseas oil, which in flip lowered the worth of oil. McClendon had additionally taken on numerous debt to develop the corporate. He had greater than $ 1 billion in private loans to fund drilling prices. He bought into bother for borrowing from lenders doing enterprise with Chesapeake, which was a battle of curiosity. He was launched in 2012. McClendon retained the choice to proceed investing within the Chesapeake wells after his launch.
In April 2013, McClendon based American Oil Companions, LP (AELP), an oil and pure fuel firm. Over the subsequent two years, he employed greater than 600 individuals and assumed $ 15 billion in fairness and debt.
In February 2015, Chesapeake filed a lawsuit in opposition to McClendon, accusing him of misusing company knowledge on accessible land after his launch.
On March 1, 2016, McClendon was indicted by a federal grand jury for violating antitrust legal guidelines. McClendon has been accused of suppressing the worth of leases for oil and pure fuel websites by falsifying the tender course of.
Aubrey McClendon denied all fees, saying he labored for 35 years creating jobs and serving to Oklahoma’s economic system whereas offering power for your complete nation. He issued a press release that learn:
“”The fees introduced in opposition to me right now are false and unprecedented. For over 110 years because the Sherman Act turned regulation, I’ve been acknowledged as the one individual within the oil and fuel trade accused of this crime-related crime-related crime providing to supply lease.“”
The then deputy lawyer normal stated partly:
“”Executives who abuse their positions as leaders of huge companies to arrange legal actions should be held accountable for his or her actions.“”
The following day, Aubrey McClendon bought into his Chevy Tahoe and drove it right into a concrete wall at 88 mph.
In line with a police report:
“”It went just about straight into the wall. The data on the market on the crime scene is that he was strolling to the left of the middle, crossing a patch of grass earlier than colliding into the dam. There have been many alternatives for him to appropriate and get again on the streets, and that did not occur.“”
On March 3, 2016, the Justice Division filed motions and dismissed McClendon’s fees.
A extremely tragic ending.