Billionaire and former oil magnate T. Boone Pickens’s investment firm has reportedly sold more than half a million shares in Chesapeake Energy, the embattled natural-gas company.
But he told Bloomberg the decision has nothing to do with the controversy over Chesapeake CEO Aubrey McClendon’s financial dealings.
“We do not own Chesapeake stock. We didn’t like natural gas,” Pickens told Bloomberg, adding that the decision to sell the shares was not related to the “politics of the company.”
Chesapeake has come under fire in recent weeks over a program, known as the Founder Well Participation Program (FWPP), that gives McClendon a personal financial stake in the company’s oil-and-gas wells.
Scrutiny over the program has led to a steady stream of revelations, including a Reuters report that found McClendon ran “a $200 million hedge fund that traded in the same commodities Chesapeake produces.”
Amid the ongoing firestorm over McClendon, Chesapeake’s board of directors announced an agreement earlier this month to end the FWPP on June 30, 2014. McClendon also agreed to step down as chairman of the company. But he will maintain his role as CEO.
McClendon later apologized for the “distractions” caused by his financial dealings.
Chesapeake has said it is “reviewing” McClendon’s financial arrangements. The Securities and Exchange Commission is also looking into McClendon’s dealings.
The Wall Street Journal reported Friday that McClendon received more than $100 million through the FWPP.