Once the second-largest U.S. natural gas producer, Chesapeake filed for court protection last June, reeling from overspending on assets and a sudden decline in demand and oil prices spurred by the COVID-19 pandemic.
It emerged from bankruptcy in February, through a plan that saw it shedding about $7.7 billion in debt.
Lawler took the reins at Chesapeake in 2013 after the company’s wildcatter founder Aubrey McClendon stepped down amid investigations into possible antitrust violations. McClendon died in a car accident in 2016.
In an interview with Reuters in February, Lawler had said the company was unable to invest enough in operations to turn a profit while simultaneously paying down $9 billion in debt, and that “led us to make decisions that weren’t always the best.”
The company said on Tuesday board chair Mike Wichterich would serve as interim CEO, while it searches for a permanent replacement.
Wichterich intends to continue in his role as chair after a new CEO is appointed in the “coming months,” Chesapeake said in a statement.
While Wichterich handles the additional role of interim CEO, Matt Gallagher will be lead independent director, the company said.
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