Investors have rapped Occidental Petroleum Corp. over its pay practices, marking the second time in a week—and ever —that a big U.S. company has lost a "say on pay" vote.

At its annual meeting Friday, Occidental asked its shareholders to weigh in on the way it pays its top executives. A majority of shareholders didn't approve of the oil company's practices, the firm said. The vote is nonbinding, but it is one way for investors to express disapproval of pay and force a conversation with the board.

CEO Ray Irani is one of the highest paid chiefs in the U.S. Mr. Irani was awarded total direct compensation of $52.2 million in 2009, tops among 200 big-company CEOs in The Wall Street Journal's annual-pay survey. Over the past three years, Mr. Irani earned almost $375 million, including the value of exercised stock options and newly vested restricted stock, the survey found.

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