Chesapeake Energy has tapped an executive with experience in the Marcellus Shale region as its new chief executive officer.
Robert Douglas Lawler, a petroleum engineer who was most recently an executive at Texas-based Anadarko Petroleum, will lead the Oklahoma City company starting June 17.
Mr. Lawler, 46, inherits a company with significant holdings in Pennsylvania and surrounding states, but one that has been troubled by shareholder disapproval over how it has handled those assets.
Mr. Lawler most recently served as the senior vice president in charge of Anadarko's international and deepwater operations, and before that headed up the firm's work in Appalachia.
As the vice president of operations for Anadarko's southern and Appalachian region from March 2009 to July 2012, he led the development of company holdings in the Marcellus Shale and three other domestic fields.
Anadarko was one of the earliest drillers in the Marcellus formation, concentrating its activity since 2006 in Pennsylvania's gas-rich northeast corner.
Chesapeake leases significant acreage in the southwestern section of the state. It remains the top driller in Ohio's Utica Shale, though it put more than 94,000 acres there up for sale in April. The company has been divesting of hundreds of thousands of acres in recent months as it tries to raise cash following a shareholder revolt in 2012.
Stock prices fell after a controversial loan program involving Chesapeake co-founder and former CEO Aubrey McClendon raised questions about how the firm was raising money. Mr. McClendon stepped down as CEO and left the board in April after an internal review of his conduct found nothing improper.
Mr. Lawler also will take a place on Chesapeake's board, but he will not be chairman like Mr. McClendon was for much of his tenure.
Chesapeake shares closed at $20.80 on Tuesday, up 53 cents.
Erich Schwartzel: firstname.lastname@example.org or 412-263-1455.