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Doug Lawler’s Top 7 Accomplishments as Chesapeake CEO…

6:54 AM EDT on April 30, 2021

The Lost Ogle would like to wish happy trails to soon-to-be-former Chesapeake CEO Doug Lawler.

After a solid eight-year run where he kept the company alive just long enough to restructure its debts, sell its assets and lay off most of its employees before filing bankruptcy, it was recently announced that today is his last day as CEO.

I'm not smart enough to know if Doug did a good job as a CEO, but considering the Chesapeake he inherited was more of a sophisticated debt-fueled Ponzi scheme than a legit energy company, I guess he should get some praise for keeping the company afloat as long as he did, and earning millions and millions and millions of dollars for himself in the process.

To both honor and remember Mr. Lawler, I thought it would be fun to look at some of his accomplishments as CEO. Here they are:

The First Time He Layed Off Over 500 Employees

One of Lawler's first big moves as Chesapeake CEO was to lay off over 500 employees. I know this because we're the ones who broke the story! It would be the first of many large layoffs the company would conduct under his leadership. Give the man credit, he was great at making sure people didn't have jobs.

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Scoring low Gross Production Taxes in Oklahoma

Back in 2014, Lawler, Larry Nichols and Harold Hammbone worked together to lobby / tell Oklahoma lawmakers and Governor Fallin to lower gross production taxes to 2%, and in the process, make it more difficult for our state government to fund essential services like education. This eventually led to the great Oklahoma teacher walkout of 2018, which ended up being a great thing for our web traffic. Thanks for that, Doug!

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Canceling Christmas

Although it didn't get any coverage on Fox News, one of Lawler's most controversial moves was when he canceled Chesapeake's famed Christmas lights display to save a few bucks each year. The move upset thousands and thousands of Oklahoma City residents who had to start driving to Chickasha again to view a well-lit Christmas wonderland.

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Creating an Expensive Cheap Logo

When a company is looking to overhaul its image, it's always a good idea to create a new logo in Microsoft paint. That's what apparently Chesapeake did when they switched logos in 2016 to the tune of $100,000.

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Making sure executives were properly paid

While Chesapeake was struggling to pay bills and laying off employees, Lawler showed he had a heart by making sure that he and the Company's top executives were properly compensated:

Despite the decreasing fortunes of the company, CBS reported that last year Lawler remained the highest-paid CEO in Oklahoma with $15.4 million in compensation, according to a ranking compiled by the Associated Press and Equilar. Prior to filing for bankruptcy, the Wall Street Journal reported, “Chesapeake also offered 21 high-ranking employees cash-retention payments totaling about $25 million.” According to Equilar, “Lawler’s realized pay through the end of last year totaled more than $48 million.”

Seriously, what a kind and generous man! With that extra money, he'll be able to make some updates to his home before putting it on the market. On that note...

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Scoring Low Property Taxes on His Oak Tree Mansion

Okay, this has nothing to do with Chesapeake, but Lawler showed us that it is possible to cut your property taxes by 25% if you're a rich and powerful Oklahoma.

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Losing naming rights to Chesapeake Arena

Even when Chesapeake was struggling, at least they could pretend to be big and powerful because they had naming rights to the Thunderdome. Not anymore. I guess it's fitting that as Lawler disappears from Chesapeake, the company's last big, remaining mark on Oklahoma City goes away with him.

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