Occidental denies "fight at the top" talk in CEO search

The board of Occidental Petroleum Corp , which has said it is searching for an eventual replacement for Chief Executive Stephen Chazen, denied on Monday that there was a "fight at the top" over the succession.

The Wall Street Journal reported recently that Ray Irani, the oil company's chairman and former long-time CEO, was pushing to replace Chazen.

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"All decisions regarding CEO succession planning were made over many meetings by the independent directors alone in executive session, in accordance with best governance practices," the Occidental board said in a statement. "Dr. Irani did not attend, and did not play any role in, these meeting deliberations."

(Reporting by Braden Reddall in San Francisco; Editing by Maureen Bavdek)