July 22 (Reuters) - Occidental Petroleum Corp on Monday criticized activist investor Carl Icahn’s efforts to oust and replace four of its directors, saying his slate of nominees were inadequate for the post.
Icahn, who owns 4.4% stake in the Houston-based oil and gas producer, launched a proxy fight last week, arguing that the company overpaid for Anadarko Petroleum and failed to give shareholders a say in the proposed $38 billion deal.
The proxy fight is unlikely to stop the Anadarko deal, but would influence the pace and direction of billions of dollars of asset sales that will result after the acquisition closes.
In a letter to shareholders, Occidental Chief Executive Officer Vicki Hollub and Chairman Eugene Batchelder said Icahn’s slate of nominees lacked “skills, experience or expertise that are addititive or superior to our existing directors.”
Icahn’s nominees are John Hofmeister, former president of Shell Oil Co, Alan LeFevre, former finance chief of consumer goods firm Jarden Corp, and Nicholas Graziano and Andrew Langham, executives with Icahn’s investment company.
Occidental also called on shareholders to reject the consent solicitation put forward by Icahn to get a vote on his nominees.
An Icahn Group executive did not immediately reply to requests for comment. (Reporting by Arundhati Sarkar in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur)