'Say-on-pay' campaign has been gaining proponents. The policy, to take
effect next year, will give stock owners a nonbinding advisory vote.
Occidental Petroleum Corp., under fire for the outsized pay of its chief
executive, Ray R. Irani, has agreed to give shareholders a limited voice
in deciding how much the Los Angeles oil company pays its top
The "say-on-pay" policy will give shareholders a nonbinding advisory
vote on executive compensation decisions made by the company's board of
directors, Occidental said Monday. The new policy will go into effect at
the company's 2010 annual meeting.
After the board approved the policy, a group of corporate activists
agreed to drop a say-on-pay proposal they planned to present at this
year's annual meeting. Similar proposals received significant support at
Occidental's 2007 and 2008 meetings but failed to pass.
"We are extremely pleased that Occidental's board recognizes the
importance of shareholder input on compensation decisions that have the
potential to affect their investments," Daniel Stranahan of the Needmor
Fund, which led the campaign for the advisory vote resolution, said in a
In addition, the American Federation of State, County & Municipal
Employees and the AFL-CIO agreed to withdraw shareholder proposals
affecting company policies on stock ownership and death benefits for top
executives, Occidental said.
Irani, who received $77.6
million in compensation in 2007 and $55.5 million in 2006, has been a
target of critics who contend that shareholders should have more power to
rein in what some say is excessive pay.
The topic has caught the attention of Congress, which is seeking to put
restrictions on executive pay at companies that receive money under the
federal government's current bailout programs. Occidental said Monday that
it supports efforts in Washington to set a uniform standard on executive
pay and to require advisory shareholder votes on pay at all U.S. public
"Say on pay gives investors both small and large an opportunity to express
directly to the company their view of executive compensation," Occidental
spokesman Richard Kline said.