Business: Hammer Stroke

Upheaval at Oxy-Pete

To his colleagues at the bank, he was unquestionably a whiz at finance, but around the office he seemed to some more like a human buzz saw—pugnacious, cutting, even on occasion rude. Yet apparently the very qualities that wound up costing A. Robert Abboud, 51, his post in April as the $265,000-a-year chairman of First Chicago Corp., the nation's ninth largest bank holding company, have landed him another top job at nearly twice his old salary. His new employer: Los Angeles-based Occidental Petroleum Corp., the nation's twelfth largest oil company.

Occidental's aged, autocratic chairman, Armand Hammer, 82, shoved aside the...

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