By Rebecca Elliott
A top Occidental Petroleum Corp. executive has been forced out of the company as it deals with the repercussions of an ill-timed acquisition, a precipitous decline in crude prices and hefty debt, according to people familiar with the matter.
Oscar Brown, a former Bank of America Corp. banker, was a key lieutenant of Chief Executive Vicki Hollub and played a substantial role in the company's $38 billion deal to buy rival Anadarko Petroleum Corp. last year. He served as Occidental's senior vice president over strategy, business development and supply chain.
The Houston-based company didn't explicitly disclose his ouster Wednesday, but a proxy filed by the company noted that Mr. Brown "was an employee of Occidental from 2016 to March 2020."
An Occidental spokeswoman declined to comment.
Occidental came under renewed pressure from activist investor Carl Icahn, a fervent critic of the Anadarko deal, last month as oil prices plummeted due to the new coronavirus pandemic and a Saudi-Russian oil-price war. The company reached a deal with Mr. Icahn that resulted in him replacing several members of the company's board of directors.
The company also has slashed its dividend, cut planned capital spending for this year by nearly half and reduced salaries for executives and employees in response to the plunge in prices.