Former CEO, Chesapeake Energy Corporation
Oklahoma native McClendon has been in the energy business his entire career. He worked as an independent energy producer before co-founding Chesapeake with partner Tom Ward in 1989. McClendon puts a lot of money behind the candidates and causes he believes in. Since 2000, he has contributed $650,000 to candidates and causes, including $250,000 to the Swift Vets and POWs for Truth. He also donated $625,000 to an anti-gay-marriage organization. The economic crisis of 2008 wiped out McClendon's stake in Chesapeake. He bought up a large quantity of Chesapeake stock in 2008, raising his stake in the Company to roughly $2 billion; but margin calls in October of 2008 forced him to sell the entire lot, leaving him nothing more than a salaryman at the Company he founded. In 2011, McClendon said that President Barack Obama's proposal to decrease foreign oil imports by a third over the next 10 years is not nearly ambitious enough. There is far more natural gas available in this country than anyone suspected as recently as five years ago, he said, and retrieving this gas would significantly reduce dependence on foreign oil and help spur a U.S. industrial renaissance. "In the last few years, we've discovered the equivalent of two Saudi Arabias of oil in the form of natural gas in the United States," he asserted in 2011. "The United States has the capacity to become the Saudi Arabia of natural gas." McClendon retired from the CEO position on April 1, 2013.
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