Aubrey McClendon was born on July 14, 1959, in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, to Joe Conner and Carole Kerr McClendon. He is the great-nephew of Robert S. Kerr who was the founder of an oil and gas company, governor of Oklahoma, and a U.S. Senator.
Aubrey McClendon graduated from Duke University in 1981 with a BA in history. He started his first oil and natural gas investment company, Chesapeake Investments, in 1982 at the age of 23. In 1989 he co-founded Chesapeake Energy Corporation with Tom L. Ward, who is now CEO of Sandridge Energy Corporation.
In 1993 McClendon took Chesapeake Energy public. Chesapeake is now the second largest producer of natural gas, the most active driller using hydraulic fracturing, and one of the top 15 oil producers in the United States. It is also the largest leasehold owner in the U.S. with approximately 14 million net acres under lease.
McClendon served as CEO of Chesapeake Energy until April 2013 when he was forced out of the company after a scandal revealed McClendon's personal finances were being managed by the company. McClendon still owns 2.5% stake in tens of thousands of gas wells owned by Chesapeake and continues attempting to influence operations at the company.
McClendon is a former director of Sundrop Fuels, a company attempting to create synthetic gasoline from methane and biomass.