Former Chesapeake Energy CEO Aubrey McClendon has died in a single-car crash.
It took place around 9 a.m. in Oklahoma and, according to officials, the car was going very fast.
“Speed was definitely a factor in the fatality,” Oklahoma City officials said in a press conference. “He pretty much drove straight into the wall.”
On Tuesday, McClendon, 56, was indicted on conspiracy to rig bids for oil and natural-gas leases. He and other companies allegedly colluded to figure out who would win the bids.
McClendon maintained his innocence in the following statement:
The charge that has been filed against me today is wrong and unprecedented. I have been singled out as the only person in the oil and gas industry in over 110 years since the Sherman Act became law to have been accused of this crime in relation to joint bidding on leasehold. Anyone who knows me, my business record and the industry in which I have worked for 35 years, knows that I could not be guilty of violating any antitrust laws. All my life I have worked to create jobs in Oklahoma, grow its economy, and to provide abundant and affordable energy to all Americans. I am proud of my track record in this industry, and I will fight to prove my innocence and to clear my name.
McClendon, who founded Chesapeake in 1989, left it in 2013 with no shortage of controversy. It was the result of a 2012 Reuters investigation alleging conflict of interest at the country’s second-largest natural-gas producer. The company did an internal investigation of its Founder Well Participation Program, which granted McClendon exclusive rights to company wells. The program was eventually suspended, but the business said that it found no misconduct.
At the time, energy magnate T. Boone Pickens sold all his Cheseapeake stock, but he also told people not to count McClendon out.
McClendon went on to found and become CEO of American Energy Partners. Upon finding out that he passed away on Wednesday Pickens said that McClendon was a “true American entrepeneur.”
“I’ve known Aubrey McClendon for nearly 25 years. He was a major player in leading the stunning energy renaissance in America. He was charismatic and a true American entrepreneur. No individual is without flaws, but his impact on American energy will be long-lasting,” Pickens said in a statement on his website.
The company said in a statement:
Aubrey’s tremendous leadership, vision, and passion for the energy industry had an impact on the community, the country, and the world. We are tremendously proud of his legacy and will continue to work hard to live up to the unmatched standards he set for excellence and integrity.
That aside, McClendon lived incredibly well. He was the best paid CEO in America in 2008. His collection of vintage Texas and Oklahoma maps are worth $12 million, and he owned a portion of the Oklahoma City Thunder basketball team. There’s a dorm at Duke, his alma mater, named after him.
We’ll continue to update this story as it develops.