Tulsa-based Williams Companies, Inc. announced Monday that the company has appointed Stephen Chazen and Peter Ragauss to the company’s Board of Directors effective immediately, motivating activist investor Keith Meister of Corvex Management LP to withdraw his plan for a proxy battle.
Chazen retired as Chief Executive Officer of Occidental Petroleum Corporation in April 2016, and has remained on Occidental’s Board of Directors where he has served since May 2010. Chazen has decades of executive leadership experience in the oil and gas industry. He holds a Ph.D. in Geology from Michigan State University, a master’s degree in Finance from the University of Houston and a bachelor’s degree in Geology from Rutgers College.
Ragauss retired from Baker Hughes in November 2014 after serving eight years as Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer. He joined the Board of Directors of Apache Corporation in December 2014. Ragauss possesses a wealth of accounting, financial and executive experience which provides him with a unique understanding of the oil and gas industry. He holds a master’s degree from Harvard Business School and bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering from Michigan State University.
Five new directors — Stephen Bergstrom, Stephen Chazen, Peter Ragauss, Scott Sheffield and William Spence — in addition to four Williams directors who served prior to 2016, will stand for election as nominees of the Williams Board. The Board also announced its goal to identify two additional highly qualified candidates to join the Board prior to the 2016 Annual Meeting. If the nominees are elected, the Williams Board will comprise 11 directors, 10 of whom are independent.
The Board also announced that three Williams directors who served prior to 2016 will not stand for re-election at the company’s Annual Meeting to be held on Wednesday, November 23, 2016.
Along with five other Williams Board members, Meister abruptly resigned in June, after a failed attempt to oust Alan Armstrong, Williams’ President and CEO.