Occidental Chairman Irani Resigns After Shareholders Rebel

By EnergyFOXBusiness

Occidental Petroleum (NYSE:OXY) Chairman Ray Irani, who worked at the oil and gas company for 30 years, resigned Friday after shareholders likely voted against him.

In a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, Occidental did not include Irani’s name in a list of board members who won re-election. The company soon after announced that Irani was stepping down from the board.

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Fellow board member and Irani ally Aziz Syriani withdrew prior to the shareholder vote.

Former Ambassador Ed Djerejian was elected chairman, while former Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham won the remaining board seat.

The board shakeup comes in the wake of widespread shareholder opposition to a succession plan for CEO Stephen Chazen. Earlier this week, Occidental said Chazen would remain at the helm through 2014, when Irani was set to retire.

There were also reports of a “fight at the top” between Irani and Chazen, which the company denied.

Shareholder revolts against chairmen of major companies don’t often succeed. Most recently, Hewlett-Packard (NYSE:HPQ) Chairman Ray Lane was narrowly re-elected earlier this year but opted to step down from the post. He remained on the company’s board.

Bank of America (NYSE:BAC) shareholders voted in 2009 to separate the chairman and CEO roles, both of which were occupied by Ken Lewis who later stepped down as chief executive.

Occidental shares were trading 16 cents lower at $90.60 in after-hours trading.