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Oxy CFO Chazen Adds President Title

The country's highest-earning finance executive continues his career juggernaut.
Stephen TaubDecember 14, 2007

Stephen Chazen, the CFO of Occidental Petroleum, has taken on an additional title: president.

In addition to finance, Chazen already was responsible for the company’s overall strategy, corporate development, oil and gas marketing, and chemicals. Now he will also be in charge of oil and gas exploration.

“His combination of experience in financial matters and oil and gas and chemicals operations will help us create additional value for our stockholders,” says Ray Irani, the company’s chairman and CEO.

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Chazen joined Occidental in 1994 as executive vice president of corporate development and was named CFO in 1999. Earlier he was a managing director in the investment-banking group at Merrill Lynch.

Chazen has been one of the highest-earning CFOs during the past decade. Last year CFO magazine noted that in 2005 he earned nearly $33 million, including gains on options he exercised and long-term incentive-plan payouts. That made him the highest-paid finance executive on a list compiled for CFO by Mercer Human Resource Consulting. He was number four when the magazine did its previous biannual study in 2004.

When Chazen became CFO of Occidental, the price of oil was below $20 a barrel and the company’s outlook was not strong. Since then, the price of oil has surged nearly fivefold, and Occidental’s stock price has followed suit.

“When the company gave out [the executive team’s] options, our stock had traded at $20 to $30 per share for years. No one actually thought it would be a $100 stock,” Chazen told CFO last year.

He was speaking in presplit terms. The stock is now around $73, or $146 if the company hadn’t split the stock two-for-one in August 2006.

Last year Chazen earned $11.4 million in various forms of compensation, excluding the value of stock-option grants but including the value of stock awards granted in 2006 and prior years. In addition, he realized gains exceeding $66 million from exercising stock options, bringing his total earnings for the year to more than $77 million.

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