(Reuters) - Chesapeake Energy Corp shareholders on Friday rejected a proposal to declassify the embattled natural gas driller's board of directors, a step that would have made it easier to replace the entire board in one step.

The proposal, which the board itself had fought for, would have eliminated the current board structure, where each of the eight directors serves a staggered three-year term.

Only 60 percent of shares outstanding voted for the proposal. At least 66.7 percent of shares outstanding needed to vote for the proposal to change Chesapeake's certificate of incorporation.

Also on Friday, Chesapeake shareholders rejected a proposal to allow shareholders with relatively small holdings to nominate new directors, as well as a proposal that would have allowed a simple majority of shareholders to alter the company's certificate of incorporation.

The shareholder meeting in Oklahoma City came after a tumultuous year during which a series of Reuters investigations led to civil and criminal investigations of the company.

(Reporting by Ernest Scheyder; Editing by Gerald E. McCormick)

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