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Ray R. Irani (born January 15, 1935) is the current chairman, president and chief executive officer of Occidental Petroleum. According to, his five-year total compensation between 2001 and 2005 was $127,447,000. In 2006, thanks to a rise in oil prices and the company's payment scheme, Irani took home a total of $460 million. He has worked at Occidental Petroleum for over 20 years, serving as a director since 1984, chief operating officer (president) from 1984 to 1990, and chairman and chief executive officer from 1990. During his early years, he worked with notable Occidental CEO Armand Hammer, who at age 91, named Irani his successor in February 1990.

Irani was born in Lebanonmarker and is of Palestinian origin; received bachelor of science in chemistry at the American University of Beirutmarker in 1953. He moved in the same year to Los Angeles, Californiamarker, and at age 18, began graduate studies in physical chemistry at the University of Southern Californiamarker. He received PhD in 1957. He subsequently worked as a researcher for the Monsanto Company until 1967 and joined the Shamrock Corporation. Prior to working for Occidental, he was president and chief operating officer of Olin Corporation, a chemicals and metals company. He was brought to Occidental in 1983 to help its struggling chemicals division, and soon was promoted to president, replacing a series of presidents fired by Hammer. By 1988, the media reported that Irani and his team were running the day-to-day operations of the company on behalf of the then 90-year-old Hammer.

Irani made news in 2007, when it was revealed that his total compensation for the 2006 year topped $450 million. His base salary was $1.3 million. Occidental justified the compensation by pointing to the stock price, which had risen from $9 a share when Irani succeeded Hammer to $48.60 at the end of 2006, and to the company's market capitalization, which grew from $32.1 billion at the end of 2005 to $42.5 billion at the end of 2006.

Irani is an honorary fellow of the American Institute of Chemists and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. Irani is currently a trustee of USC and vice chairman of the board of American University of Beirut. USC named a primary life sciences building as Ray R. Irani Hall on February 9, 2007. He is married to Ghada Irani.


  1. Executive Pay: Ray R. Irani,, 2005.
  2. Elizabeth Douglass, Occidental CEO's 2006 paycheck: $460 million, Los Angeles Times, April 7, 2007.
  3. Michael Lev, Hammer, 91, Gets an Heir At Occidental, The New York Times, February 16, 1990.
  4. Eva Emerson, Life Sciences Building Named in Honor of Alumnus, USC College News, February 2007.
  5. John Evan Frook, New heir apparent at Occidental doesn't pacify unhappy shareholders, analysts say, Los Angeles Business Journal, February 4, 1990
  6. Anthony Ramirez, "Hammer Hits 90! Oxy Grows Up Too," Fortune, November 7, 1988, p. 59.

External links

Dr. Irani was born in Tehran, Iran

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