Occidental Petroleum Corp. Chief Executive Ray Irani, who collected more than $55 million in compensation last year, appears destined to become one of the nation's highest-paid octogenarians, the Los Angeles Times reports.


Under a newly extended contract with the Westwood-based oil company, Irani, 72, is set to keep his job , and continue to earn top-dollar payouts , past his 80th birthday in 2015.


Occidental has also revamped its long-term compensation plans for Irani and other top executives, adopting ones that more closely link pay to performance benchmarks favored by shareholders, according to a report filed late Friday with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Last year, Irani collected a $270-million profit on previously granted stock options.


Corporate governance experts questioned why Occidental made such a lengthy extension to Irani's existing contract, which wasn't set to expire for more than two years. The new contract stretches Irani's service well beyond the company's stated age limit of 75 for board members.


"That's kind of cutting against best practice," said Patrick McGurn, executive vice president of Institutional Shareholder Services, a group that advises companies and investors about corporate governance issues. "That's outside the norm."


Occidental spokesman Richard Kline said the company would waive the age limit in Irani's case.

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