Chesapeake Energy Corp said on Tuesday that two directors, including a representative of activist investor Carl Icahn, resigned on Monday, a week after Icahn more than halved his stake in the natural gas producer.
Chesapeake said the resignations of Icahn representative Vincent Intrieri and John Lipinski, board members since June 2012 and June 2014 respectively, were not due to any disagreements. (http://bit.ly/2cSkDJK)
However, the No. 2 U.S. natural gas producer did not specify why the two directors had stepped down. Chesapeake, Icahn and Lipinski were not immediately available for comment.
Chesapeake shares were down 9 percent to $6.02 on Tuesday, amid a broader decline in stocks of energy companies due to a sharp drop in crude oil prices.
Icahn said last week that Chesapeake's management had done "an admirable job" over the last few years and that he reduced his stake in the company ��� by 51.6 percent to 4.55 percent ��� for tax-planning purposes. (http://bit.ly/2cSkpT7)
Chesapeake said in August it had reduced debt by more than $1 billion this year and had undertaken a couple of debt-for-equity swaps, or bond swaps, to reduce interest payments and a crippling debt burden debt taken to fund shale development.
The natgas producer last month raised its 2016 asset sales target and production forecast as it looks to cope with weak oil and gas prices.
Intrieri, who has served as senior managing director of Icahn Capital LP, had been on Chesapeake's board since June 2012, when Icahn asked to replace at least four directors and revealed a stake in the company.
That year Chesapeake named four new independent directors ��� three proposed by Southeastern Asset Management, its largest shareholder at the time, and one proposed by Icahn, its No. 2 shareholder.
Icahn had said then that the board had failed "in a dramatic fashion" in its oversight of management and its earlier promises to act in a more financially responsible way had proven hollow.
Chesapeake at the time was under intense pressure from investors to improve its corporate governance after Reuters reported in 2012 that then Chief Executive Aubrey McClendon had taken out more than $1 billion in loans using his personal stakes in thousands of company wells as collateral.
McClendon, a brash risk-taker who helped transform the U.S. energy industry with shale gas, died when his car slammed into an overpass in March, a day after being charged with breaking federal antitrust laws.
(Reporting by Arathy S Nair in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio D'Souza)