This excerpt taken from the CHK DEF 14A filed Apr 29, 2008.
As the chief executive officer and co-founder of the Company, Mr. McClendon has been instrumental in shaping the vision for the Company and transforming it into a leader in U.S. natural gas production. Accordingly, his compensation is awarded predominantly in the form of long-term equity incentives. As a significant shareholder, with approximately 29.5 million shares of our common stock, Mr. McClendon has a major portion of his personal wealth tied directly to sustained stock price appreciation and performance, providing direct alignment with shareholder interests. Additionally, Mr. McClendon has not sold a share of the Companys common stock since January 2002 and has been an active and continuous purchaser of our common stock in the open market since September 2002. From September 2002 through April 2008, Mr. McClendon purchased over 11 million shares at a total cost of approximately $319 million.
The Company provides Mr. McClendon with unlimited use of fractionally-owned company aircraft and accounting support services to provide him with the flexibility to focus on the myriad of critical and complex issues that currently face the U.S. natural gas industry while remaining actively involved in the oversight of the day-to-day management of the Company. Mr. McClendon is thoroughly involved in the financial and operational discussions and decisions that occur each day throughout the Company; however, more than any other executive officer, he also leads the Companys public policy initiatives currently centered around global climate change and the promotion of natural gas as the best solution for the nations future energy needs. The Compensation Committee believes these additional responsibilities warrant the perquisites provided to Mr. McClendon as compared to those provided to other executive officers.
Because of Mr. McClendons unique role as co-founder of the Company, he is the only executive officer with the opportunity to participate as a working interest owner in the oil and natural gas wells that the Company drills. The Founder Well Participation Program (FWPP), which was approved by our shareholders on June 10, 2005 (see Transactions with Related Persons on page 53), is a continuation of the well participation program previously administered through Mr. McClendons employment agreement and initiated by the Company in connection with its initial public offering in February 1993. The FWPP fosters and promotes the development and execution of the Companys business by: (a) retaining and motivating our chief executive officer who
co-founded the Company; (b) aligning the financial rewards and risks of Mr. McClendon with the Company more effectively and directly than other performance incentive programs maintained by many of the Companys peers; and (c) imposing on Mr. McClendon the same risks incurred by the Company in its exploration and production operations. The Compensation Committee reviews Mr. McClendons participation in the FWPP on a semi-annual basis and annually adjusts the acreage costs charged to Mr. McClendon to ensure he reimburses the Company for such costs.
At Mr. McClendons request, the Compensation Committee has maintained his salary at $975,000 since 2006. The Compensation Committee has further rewarded his performance and the performance of the Company by increasing his cash bonuses and the value of his restricted stock awards. For 2007, Mr. McClendon received $1.8 million in cash bonuses and restricted stock awards valued on the award date at $25.1 million. Based on a subjective review of his exemplary leadership, both as the Companys leader and an advocate for the natural gas industry, demonstrated commitment to the Company and the formulation and successful execution of the Companys business strategy as reflected by its operational and financial growth, productivity and profitability, the Compensation Committee believes Mr. McClendons compensation is appropriate.