This is a move on the part of the company to 'clamp down' on its leaders. Essentially the pay and perks (such as the right of directors to use company aircraft) that outside directors currently receive will be cut substantially. Pay will be cut by no less than 20%, and these changes should bring the company's pay packages in line with what other companies are offering to directors that function at the same level as these directors.
However, it is interesting to note that even with these cuts the directors of Chesapeake will still be receiving a higher rate of pay than their counterparts in other companies. This is the second (or third depending on how you look at it) move by the company to get management in line. Recently, it also cut CEO pay following news that its CEO was taking out loans using the company as collateral and hired an outsider as Chairman. The company has been suffering substantially due to falling gas process, and this may simply be a way for it to recoup some of its losses. This news makes me, personally, feel better about the company in terms of its future stability. It is definitely a step in a positive direction as far as investors are concerned.
However concern remains regarding the company's apparent inability to reign in the aforementioned CEO, Aubrey McClendon. This is something that has concerned investors for some time now, and it seems that this is not being directly addressed. To me, it seems that there are still a number of problems standing in the way of the company and its ability to turn things around. These problems include the close ties that several of the company's directors have with McClendon, which could cloud their judgment and prevent the necessary actions being taken to resolve the situation. Perhaps the best way for the company to regain investor support is to completely change the board of directors.
Chesapeake simply seems unable to shake the criticism that keeps on mounting up. Most recent news about the company is related to the questionable packages that its directors receive, and it is important to note that this appears to be overshadowing any positive things that the company may (or may not) be achieving. This public perception of the company is what may cause the most damage to its stock in the long run.
Chesapeake needs to get its management in order, which it seems intent on doing sooner than later. Then, it can return its focus to profitability that has made it such a dynamic player in the oil and gas industry.
Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.