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Chevron Makes Two Posts from One

The Chevron Corporation announced yesterday that it would separate the positions of chief executive and board chairman

The Chevron Corporation announced yesterday that it would separate the positions of chief executive and board chairman and make it easier for shareholders to remove directors, Bloomberg reported.

The chairman will now be elected annually by the board, the company, based in San Ramon, Calif., said in a public filing. Previously, the oil producer’s chief executive automatically occupied the role of chairman.

David J. O’Reilly, 60, has held both positions since January 2000. During his tenure, Chevron stock delivered annual average returns of 11 percent, assuming reinvestment of dividends. The decision to split the top jobs was approved by the 13-member board at a Jan. 31 meeting, the filing said.

Chevron’s board also changed voting rules so that directors in uncontested elections require more “yes” than “no” votes, excluding abstentions, to retain their seats. Under the old plurality system, investors’ choices were limited to voting “yes” or withholding their votes.

Chevron said last week that fourth-quarter profit fell 9 percent, to $3.77 billion, after energy prices and production declined. The drop ended a streak of profit gains that began in July 2005.