August 31, 2010 / 10:58 PM / 8 years ago

Occidental's Irani to retire as CEO in 2011: report

HOUSTON (Reuters) - Ray Irani, who has been criticized for excessive pay, plans to announce his retirement date as chief executive officer of Occidental Petroleum Corp (OXY.N) at a board meeting in October, the Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday.

Irani, 75, is expected to say he will step down as CEO at an unspecified date in 2011, while retaining his title as chairman for a few years, the newspaper reported, citing people familiar with the situation.

“We’ve got nothing to announce at this time,” a spokesman for Los Angeles company said.

Earlier this month, funds that own 1 percent of Occidental said they are targeting board seats at the fourth-largest U.S. oil company because of concerns about how its executives are paid.

At that time, a spokesman for California State Teachers’ Retirement System said in an email his fund and Relational Investors LLC aim to take at least four of the 13 board seats at the company’s annual meeting next year.

The move by the funds follows the rejection in May of Occidental’s pay policy by a majority of its shareholders.

Irani, whose compensation grew 40 percent in 2009 to $31.4 million has garnered attention over the years for his pay. The Wall Street Journal said in July he earned $857 million in the past decade.

The company responded to the compensation vote by saying the board would study what changes may have to be made.

Occidental has moved toward succession planning by announcing that Stephen Chazen, its 63-year-old president and chief financial officer, would become chief operating officer and hand over his role as Chief Financial Officer to James Lienert.

Occidental shares edged two cents higher to $73.10 after the close of regular trading.

Reporting by Anna Driver in Houston; editing by Andre Grenon

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