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El Paso board fights off shareholder revolt

Acting chief executive Ronald Kuehn claimed victory by a margin of about 5% after a vote at the company’s annual general meeting in Houston. The revolt, led by dissident shareholder Selim Zilkha, had aimed to tap into shareholders anger over a huge fall in the company’s stock price, burgeoning debt levels and poor credit ratings. El Paso’s stock price has fallen from highs of $74 in February 2001 to a low of $3.33 in February this year. El Paso shares closed at $9.04 Tuesday, up about 3% on the day.

Although the official result will not be confirmed until all the proxy votes are counted over the coming weeks, Zilkha said after the vote that it appeared his side had “fallen a bit short”. Zilkha, who is the company’s largest individual shareholder with 1.5% of El Paso shares, added: “Whatever the final outcome, I hope that management and the incumbent board have heard loud and clear what the El Paso shareholders expect of them.”

Kuehn said El Paso plans to choose a permanent chief executive in the coming weeks.

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