Q&A with CEO Doug Lawler

In our Corporate Responsibility Report, we highlight a year that was both foundational and innovative. CEO Lawler addresses how our culture leads our commitment to being a responsible operator.

Q: At its most basic level, corporate responsibility means safety, compliance and stakeholder engagement. Beyond these terms, what does operating responsibly mean at Chesapeake?

A: We have worked hard during these last two years to shift our culture and prioritize protecting our employees, stakeholders and the environment. Living our core values is our framework for responsible operations, and our employees hold each other to these high standards. Operating responsibly means being ethical in our decisions, holding ourselves accountable for our actions and their impacts, and doing what we say we’ll do. We live in the communities where we work, and we take our stewardship role seriously.

Q: When you started at Chesapeake, you made safety performance and spill reduction priorities for the company. What are your next goals in the area of responsibility?

A: I’m pleased with the progress we have made so far, most specifically the dedication I have seen in the field. While no safety incident or spill is acceptable, our teams have shown significant improvement. Because I believe no two issues are more important to our company’s operations, safety performance and spill reduction will remain our primary focus in 2015.

Longer term, our company is challenged to develop more efficient and innovative solutions to reduce our operational impact. We cannot become complacent about such important issues as water sourcing and recycling or emissions, as examples.

Q: You referenced the industry’s challenging price environment. What impact does this have on Chesapeake’s responsibility efforts?

A: We have an unwavering commitment to providing a safe and responsible work environment, regardless of commodity prices or changes in the market. We won’t put a price tag on actions that would endanger the lives of our employees or negatively impact our communities.

During this time of great commodity price volatility, I truly believe we are in a position of strength among our peers. We have outstanding employees and assets, and are a financially healthy organization. We worked hard to be in this position, and we can attribute at least part of this success to our focus on capital efficiencies. We recognize that certain responsibility efforts, such as water recycling, will be adopted more quickly in our industry if costs can be similar to the costs of current practices.

Q: You are an advocate of servant leadership. How has this leadership style created a culture shift at Chesapeake?

A: Servant leadership means employees put the interests of the company and its stakeholders ahead of their own. Chesapeake employees view company resources as belonging to our shareholders. We stress stewardship of everything we are responsible for — from company finances to the land on which we operate and the communities where we work — resulting in an organization that values integrity and respect above all else.