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Just starting to look...

I know next to nothing about this company

To be exact I’m up to page 24 on their last prospectus and already I have a question.

Just who is Tom Ward? OK, I know he is the ex-COO and co-founder of Chesapeake but that isn’t exactly what I meant.

Is he, as I previously thought, the guy who provided the yin to Aubrey’s yang? Or, is he just another version of Aubrey that is intent (in my mind at least) on empire building, while taking huge risks with other peoples money, based on his belief he is the smartest guy in the room and secure in the knowledge that his lackey board and their shameful compensation policies will have his back even if/when the sh#t hits the fan.

I’ve got to say, so far, Tom seems to be acting an awful lot like you would expect Aubrey to act with the acquisitions, capital raising and dilutions and after reading stuff like this it doesn’t get any better.

We do not currently base executive officer compensation decisions on pre-established performance targets as most of the applicable operational and financial performance measures are contingent upon the prices we receive or expect to receive from the sale of natural gas. Natural gas prices are volatile and often driven by
factors that are beyond the control of our executive officers. Therefore, compensation decisions based on the attainment of established financial and operational performance measures and targets would often not reflect the actual performance of our executive officers.

Hockey Puck! I give people my capital to invest and earn a return and frankly this sounds a bit like you want the credit if things go well and an excuse if they don’t. It is after all about making profits, surely you can find a method that can provide incentives that require profit making while perhaps allowing for the ebb and flow of prices as well. Perhaps this is the time to roll out a chart that demonstrates the distinction between companies who emphasize profits over empire building.

Have I made my point because I’ve got to say that while it might not be fair to hang CHK’s performance on SD this chart ain’t no better?

OK, I’ll acknowledge there could be a little “lies, damn lies and statistics” going on here and I’ll admit that your coming public when you did didn’t exactly help the chart. So how should I judge your performance and decide if your compensation is fair, is it this?

We believe the complexities of our operations and business plan, and, therefore, the skills needed of our executive officers, are greater than those of many companies with comparable total revenues. Therefore, we at times target compensation levels of certain of our Peer Companies that are significantly larger or more developed.

Oh I see, you’re the smartest guys on the block so you deserve more compensation despite the fact that you don’t want to be held responsible for prices and ultimately profits.

OK, I admit it I am a born skeptic but this doesn’t mean I don’t approach things with a open mind I just require some questions to be answered and first up is…

Who is Tom Ward?


PS Thanks for the Value Investors Club link
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