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Houston rig giant keeps Astros owner on board, defying investors

Jim Crane, owner of the Houston Astros, speak during an event honoring the 2017 World Series Champion Houston Astros at the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S. on Monday, March 12, 2018. Photographer: Joshua Roberts/Bloomberg
Jim Crane, owner of the Houston Astros, speak during an event honoring the 2017 World Series Champion Houston Astros at the White House in Washington, D.C., U.S. on Monday, March 12, 2018. Photographer: Joshua Roberts/Bloomberg

Jim Crane, the former All-American pitcher who owns the Houston Astros, was voted off of Nabors Industries Ltd.’s board by shareholders. The world’s biggest owner of land-drilling rigs says it wants him to stay.

Even though Crane received less than a majority of votes in favor of his re-election as a director of Nabors, the board declined his resignation due to “his well-known success in business, his relationships with senior energy industry executives, as well as his significant expertise in global logistics,” the Hamilton, Bermuda-based company said in a filing on Friday.

Nabors has been under attack for overpaying its executives while its shares have tanked over the past few years. The company’s value, worth as much as $14 billion in 2008, has plunged to about $800 million.

Chief Executive Officer Anthony Petrello, who has been among the highest-paid executives in the oil industry, agreed to take a pay cut this year, forfeiting $4 million in restricted stock in exchange for a symbolic award worth $1,500. The salary for Petrello, who took over as CEO in October 2011, is also dropping 10% this year to $1.58 million.

Jim Crane is also the chairman of power utility Champion Energy Services LLC. He couldn’t be reached for comment.

While incorporated in Bermuda, Nabors’ operational headquarters are in Houston.

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