1. Au Revoir, Aubrey
Farewell, Aubrey McClendon. We here at the 5 Dumbest Lab will certainly hate to see you go.
That said, judging by the 7% pop in Chesapeake Energy's (CHK) stock on Wednesday, clearly your shareholders are far less sentimental than we are. In fact, they seem pretty jubilant.The nation's second-largest national gas producer announced this week that McClendon will step down as CEO on April 1. McClendon is being scrutinized by regulators and Chesapeake's board for his freewheeling ways with the company's cash, as well as possible antitrust violations. McClendon told employees in an e-mail that his leaving was the result of "philosophical differences" with the board and that "the separation will be amicable and smooth." Philosophical differences? No way, Au-bray! The differences became purely physical after last June's shareholder insurrection that stripped you of your chairman title. These are entirely different people than the good, old boys that would rubber-stamp your massive checks and bail you out when you got into trouble. For example, this group would not have a philosophical debate about buying your antique map collection for $12.1 million like your old-crony board did in 2008 when your stock collapsed. They would just laugh. We do, however, agree with Aubrey that his separation from the company he founded will be smooth. How could it not be? McClendon is reportedly entitled to total compensation of about $47 million. He is also entitled to deferred compensation of about $800,000 and the unlimited use of corporate jets for four years. Yep, good, old Aubrey was oily till the end. He even greased the runway before he took off. And we'll miss him for that. Even if nobody else in the state of Oklahoma will.