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Freeport-McMoRan lays off executive team of oil, gas subsidiary

Freeport-McMoRanInc. on April 5 announced a major change to the organizational structurefor Freeport-McMoRan Oil & Gas, resulting in its executive team being laid off.

Freeport-McMoRan Oil & Gas will become an operatingdivision of the larger company and the financial and administrative roles at Freeport-McMoRanOil & Gas will be merged with Freeport-McMoRan's corporate functions. The moveis expected to cut costs, streamline functions and enhance capital allocation acrossthe company's global business, according to the release.

The restructuring means that Freeport-McMoRan Oil &Gas CEO Jim Flores, President and COO Doss Bourgeois, Executive Vice President andCFO Winston Talbert and Executive Vice President and General Counsel John Wombwellare all leaving the company. Freeport has been undertaking a strategic review ofits oil and gas business under pressure from activist investor Carl Icahn, who hadbecome Freeport's largest shareholder. As of the end of2015, Icahn Capital LP owned 8.31% of Freeport's outstanding shares, according toSNL data.

Mark Kidder has been appointed as executive vice presidentfor operations at Freeport-McMoRan Oil & Gas. Kidder was previously vice presidentfor operations.

In late 2015, Freeport-McMoRan downsized its board, suspendedits annual dividend and proposed plans to cut oil and gas CapEx. The changes areconsistent with Freeport-McMoRan's costreduction initiatives "in response to a challenging commodity marketenvironment," said Richard Adkerson, president and CEO of Freeport-McMoRan.

Freeport's oil and gas portfolio includes assets in thedeepwater Gulf of Mexico, oil resources in both onshore and offshore California,and unconventional gas assets in the Haynesville Shale.