Occidental Chairman Got Over $400 Million Last Year

Occidental Petroleum's chairman and chief executive took in more than $400 million in compensation last year, the company said in a filing, one of the biggest single-year payouts in U.S. corporate history.

The largest part of Ray Irani's 2006 payout was $270.2 million from the exercise of options awarded from 1997 to 2006, representing more than 7.1 million shares, according to the company's annual proxy statement, which was filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission in March.

Irani also received $93.3 million in stock and dividends from a deferred stock program when the company closed the plan in October due to increases in liability and expenses for the program, the company said.

Irani's salary in 2006 was $1.3 million and his cash bonus was $1.4 million, according to the filing. But stock and option awards and other benefits lifted his 2006 compensation to $55.6 million, the proxy said.

In the proxy, the company said that from December 1990 -- when Irani succeeded Armand Hammer as chief executive -- through 2005, the company's stock rose to about $40 a share from $9 and its total shareholder return was 699 percent.

"When you look at this, this is solid pay for performance," said Richard Kline, an Occidental spokesman. "It serves the best interest of the corporation and the best interest of the shareholder."

Occidental shares closed on Thursday at $49.95 on the New York Stock Exchange.

According to the Wall Street Journal, only a few CEOs have ever made more money in one year. In 2001, Oracle CEO Larry Ellison received $706 million from exercising stock options and in 1998, former Walt Disney CEO Michael Eisner received $570 million, according to the newspaper.