Wednesday, May 2, 2012

More Damage Control at Chesapeake Energy

Chesapeake Energy has circled the wagons and is firing up the spin machine.   They have "retained George Sard, the CEO of Sard Verbinnen* .    Sard was described as a "spinmeister of the apocalypse" by Portfolio magazine in April 2009, because he has worked as a PR consultant for so many high-profile clients in moments of utter, humiliating public collapse."

Sard's clients have included the Madoff brothers (Ponzi scheme), Eliot Spitzer (prostitution), Martha Stewart (insider trading), former Lehman Brothers CEO Dick Fuld (Ponzi scheme), and AIG (Ponzi scheme). His firm was also on the scene during the Enron collapse -- JPMorgan hired him to beat back accusations that the bank was complicit in the Enron fraud (it eventually paid $135 million to settle SEC charges).

----Gee, those worked out really well, didn't they?  EPIC FAIL

McClendon told investors he's "deeply sorry" that his personal finances have come under scrutiny as shares fell the most in three years.

"I'm deeply sorry for all of the distractions of the past two weeks," McClendon, co-founder of Oklahoma City-based Chesapeake, said on a conference call to discuss first-quarter results today. McClendon said the company may have to sell more assets than planned to cover a gap between cash flow and revenue if natural-gas prices remain depressed. These sales won't interfere with debt-reduction targets or plans to boost oil production, he said.

----He's sorry about distractions, but not about the funny loans?

When all else fails - Blame the media.
Chesapeake Energy Corp shares fell sharply on Wednesday morning, even as Chief Executive Officer and Chairman Aubrey McClendon, under fire over investigations by Reuters into his personal financial dealings, criticized many of the reports as "misinformation."

"There's been enormous and unprecedented scrutiny of our company, and of me personally. And a great deal of misinformation has been published, and uncertainty created," McClendon told an earnings conference call on Wednesday.

He declined to offer specifics, and analysts did not press him on the Reuters reports that showed he had taken out as much as $1.1 billion in personal loans on ownership stakes in wells the company had given to him. Analysts and academics have said those stakes posed potentially serious conflicts of interest

* Per Sard Verbinnen & Co
Sard Verbinnen & Co (SVC) is a leading strategic corporate and financial communications firm. We provide communications counsel and services to clients including multinational corporations, smaller public and private companies, investment firms, financial and professional service firms, and high-profile individuals.

The firm’s highly experienced senior professionals provide sound, objective advice and execution support to clients across a broad spectrum of industries. Our work encompasses corporate positioning, media relations and investor relations, transaction communications, litigation support, crisis communications, and other special situations.

We are regularly cited as one of the top M&A and crisis communications advisors in North America.

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