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Williams appoints 2 to board with 2 more to come, satisfying activist investor

Williams Cos.Inc. appointed former executives of andBaker Hughes Inc. to itsboard and said three directors will not stand for re-election, furthering whatthe company called a "board refreshment."

The new directors are Stephen Chazen, former president andCEO of Occidental, and Peter Ragauss, former CFO of Baker Hughes, according toa Sept. 26 news release. The appointments are effective immediately. Chazenalso serves as a board member at Occidental, and Ragauss is a board member atApache Corp.

After the new directors were named, activist investorKeith Meister droppedhis alternate slate of board nominees. "I believe the changes to theboard announced today, ensuring most importantly that seven of eleven membersof the board will be newly added … will put the company in the best position toensure a renewed focus on shareholder interests and the enhancement ofshareholder value," Meister said in a statement issued by his hedge fundCorvex Management LP."Corvex looks forward to working with the newly constituted board tounlock the significant value inherent in the company."

Chazen and Ragauss join Stephen Bergstrom, Scott Sheffieldand William Spence as new Williams board members. The company has beenrebuilding its board under pressure from Meister since a failed merger withEnergy Transfer EquityLP led to six board members leaving, including Meister.

Williams plans to name two more directors. The sevendirectors named in 2016 will all stand for election at the annual meeting inNovember, along with four board members who served before 2016. If all areelected, Williams' board would be composed of 11 directors, 10 of whom areindependent, the company said.

The board also reformed its nominating and governancecommittee, which now comprises board Chairman Kathleen Cooper, Chazen andBergstrom, with Bergstrom chairing. The committee will choose the two directorsyet to be named.

Williams did not name the three directors who will not standfor re-election. The Williams board members who served before 2016 are Cooper,CEO Alan Armstrong, Joseph Cleveland, John Andrew Hagg, Juanita Hinshaw, MurraySmith and Janice Stoney.