Chesapeake Energy Corp.'s (CHK) board and chief executive have agreed to terminate a controversial contract 18 months before it had been scheduled to end.
The program had provided current Chairman and Chief Executive Aubrey K. McClendon with the right to participate and invest as a working interest owner of up to 2.5% in new wells. Chesapeake said Tuesday that McClendon will receive no compensation of any kind in connection with the contract's early termination.
Shares surged 9.4% to $20.16 as the company also reported it intends to name a new independent chairman to replace McClendon. It intends to consider candidates "with no previous substantive relationship with Chesapeake," adding it will be soliciting input from major shareholders.
Chesapeake has been under pressure recently to overhaul its corporate governance--including calls to replace its board, chief executive or both. Analysts have warned that the company's financial structure and liquidity concerns could present a risk for shareholders.
The calls for change came in the wake of revelations that entities controlled by McClendon borrowed up to $1.4 billion from a private-equity firm that has done hundreds of millions of dollars in deals with the company in the past year. The company didn't disclose the size or source of the borrowings.