Ray Irani Out as Chairman of Occidental Petroleum

LOS ANGELES (AP) - The chairman of Occidental Petroleum Corp. (OXY) who drew criticism over his compensation as CEO, is out.

Ray R. Irani will step down and be replaced by a former diplomat, Occidental announced Friday after its annual meeting. Shareholders cast their shares against him by more than a 3-to-1 margin.

Irani was chairman and CEO from 1990 to 2011 and became executive chairman in May 2011.


AP

The company said that another director, Aziz Syriani, withdrew before the election at the company's annual meeting.

Occidental said that Edward P. Djerejian, a former U.S. ambassador to Israel and Syria, will replace Irani. Former U.S. Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham will become vice chairman.

Irani, 78, has come under fire by shareholders for his compensation. An analysis by The Associated Press found that in 2010, he was the second-highest-paid CEO among Standard & Poor's 500 companies, with a package of salary, stock awards and other compensation valued at $76.1 million, up 142 percent from the year before.

Big shareholders including the California State Teachers' Retirement System called his compensation a waste of shareholder money.

The Los Angeles-based oil and gas producer defended the compensation, saying it was tied to Occidental's performance. The company's net income jumped 55 percent to $4.53 billion in 2010. Under Irani'sleadership, Occidental grew to become the fourth-largest U.S.-based oil company. Its stock market value was $9 billion in 2000 and is $73 billion now.

Irani had planned to retire at the end of 2014.

Occidental said Friday that CEO Stephen Chazen and the board would call Irani for what the company termed "advice, counsel, and help in advancing the company's business interests." Chazen thanked Iranifor 30 years of service to Occidental.

In February, Occidental announced that it would start looking for a replacement for Chazen. Last month the company said that its independent directors believed that "now is the time to seek new leadership to be in place for the longer term."

Last week Occidental announced that Chazen would remain CEO through next year and help in the search for his successor.

The new chairman, Djerejian, has been on the Oxy board since 1996. He is a founding director of the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy at Rice University.

Abraham, who was elected to the Senate from Michigan and was Energy Secretary under President George W. Bush, has been an Oxy director since 2005 and chaired the executive compensation committee. He runs a strategic consulting firm.

In April the company quoted Abraham as saying that Occidental was "committed to revising its executive compensation program to reflect shareholder feedback" and align it with pay at peers.

Occidental shares rose $2.67, or 3 percent, to close at $90.76.

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38 Comments

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timber1647

He leaves, deservedly so, but with a lot of shareholder money.

May 06 2013 at 6:21 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
heartoftex

He deserved to be booted. Would be great if all companies had the guts to boot out the money grubbing guys at the top that are making a killing off of all others.

May 06 2013 at 6:13 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
kesac

It is a good thing when the shareholders take charge of the companies they own. The article doesn't say how much of that compensation was in the form of increases in stock options that were his "at risk" compensation.

May 06 2013 at 5:41 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
itzvern

I hope he can get by. Unemployment is tough. Nah F him

May 06 2013 at 5:12 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
aptp356

Repeal Phil Gramms "Futures Tradeing Reform" past in 2000,signed into law by bill clinton and give control based on supply and demand back to the CFTC. Then watch the world economies recover in two months. Phil's selling of his public office has cost the world public trillions.
Record unemployment all over the world,so Phil can make a few million a year working for UBS

May 06 2013 at 4:23 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to aptp356's comment
Rhonda

Futures trading is the scurge of Wall Street, the rich get richer as they destroy weak companies for profit. If people actually picked a company to invest in and had to have the money they invest this country and world would mend very quickly. I completely agree.

May 06 2013 at 4:37 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Rhonda's comment
kesac

Futures trading is an entirely different issue. It is not done on Wall Street, it is done in the commodities market. You really don't understand this.

May 06 2013 at 5:48 PM Report abuse rate up rate down
kesac

Commodities trading has nothing to do with stock trading or equity in a company.
Commodities, can literally be traded or sold for any price, or to any person in the world, when ever two people reach an agreement. Those trades smooth out the peaks and valleys in pricing of most commodities and give the consumer a more stable price.
That has nothing to do with the worlds economies recovering. It has nothing to do with this articel.
Sorry that is over your head.

May 06 2013 at 5:47 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Rae Turner

It took them 20 yrs to learn that he was giving hiimself more money for a "salary" than anyone else in American? Is he or any of themAmerican?

May 06 2013 at 3:33 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Brian Workman

Big shareholders including the California State Teachers' Retirement System called his compensation a waste of shareholder money. They're just jeleous of him getting more of the pie than they're getting!! They're just more greedy than him!!!.

May 06 2013 at 3:29 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Brian Workman's comment
Rhonda

I too found it odd that the pension gougers think his compensation was too much!

May 06 2013 at 4:39 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
tesla5000

Folks;

The most important thing the president needs to do is regulate the price of gas. The
entire world economy would flourish with low gas prices. The society we have become
absolutley depends on cheap availability of the fuel needed for people to travel, work,
move goods, products and food. If the price of gas reached twenty dollars per gallon, any
economy would completely fail. All the abilities provided by personal and commercial
transportation must be maintained reliably by constant low cost availability of gasoline.
It is the single most devastating fixable problem facing the US and world economies today,
and yet the subject is rarely even discussed and no solution other than electric cars
or vehicles having better gas mileage has been implemented or proposed. We have
created a society which absolutely relies on vehicular travel while simultainiously
limiting its use through unaffordable gas prices. The government needs to take over
the production of oil, keep our own produced oil rather than exporting it, and maintain
the price at a low level. Otherwise, oil companies will continue to rape this country
of billions of dollars per quarter in profit that should be infused into the economy in
forms beneficial to its growth, instead of its destruction, for the sole purpose of greed.
It should be a matter of national security before it becomes one. No other current issue
compares to the economic growth limits imposed by high gas prices.

Be sure and tell a friend.

May 06 2013 at 2:54 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
3 replies to tesla5000's comment
cora

Why do I have to?

May 06 2013 at 1:41 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
littlebig1ct

And Obama gets blamed for rising oil prices. Bush was president when these prices started to skyrocket. (2000) Bush gave these execs the wink and nod.

May 06 2013 at 1:27 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to littlebig1ct's comment
Rhonda

Sky rocket was alive and well during Clinton.

May 06 2013 at 4:43 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply