UPDATE 1-Marathon backs CEO amid calls for his ouster

(Recasts with Marathon's statement)

Sept 27 (Reuters) - Marathon Petroleum Corp said on Friday the company's board supports Gary Heminger as the chief executive officer after a report that two shareholders were calling for his ouster.

"The board of directors is firmly and unanimously supportive of Gary Heminger as MPC's chairman and CEO, and his track record of delivering value to shareholders and all of the company's constituencies," the company said in a statement.

The shareholders, Paul Foster and Jeff Stevens, sent a letter to the company on Thursday evening calling for the CEO's removal, the Wall Street Journal reported early on Friday.

The shareholders also backed a proposal by hedge fund Elliott Management Corp to split Marathon into three units, the Journal reported https://on.wsj.com/2m08ah3 citing a copy of the letter.

The shareholders, who are former board members of refiner Andeavor, which Marathon acquired last year, own about 1.7% of Marathon, the Journal said.

Elliott was not immediately available for a Reuters request for comment after regular U.S. business hours, while Foster and Stevens could not be reached.

Elliott on Wednesday urged the energy company to split into three companies for retail, refining and midstream assets, saying it would boost shareholder value by as much as $40 billion.

Marathon had responded to the hedge fund's proposal stating it was focused on increasing shareholder value and would "thoroughly evaluate" Elliott's proposal.

Heminger's membership of Marathon's board of directors is due up for shareholder vote in 2020, according to Marathon's 2019 proxy statement. (Reporting by Aakriti Bhalla, Rebekah Mathew in Bengaluru; Editing by Bernard Orr and Subhranshu Sahu)