Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold Inc.CEO and Vice Chairman Richard Adkerson, 66, has been awarded shares currently valued at about $36 million as compensation for canceling severance pay rights, part of a makeover in executive compensation at the company. Adkerson, CEO of the Phoenix operator since late 2003, signed an employment contract in 2008 that would have given him the right to payments of about $49 million for being fired or $60.8 million following a change of control. In June, Freeport completed a $9 billion cash/stock purchase of Plains Exploration & Production Co. and McMoRan Exploration Co. (see Daily GPI, June 4; Dec. 6, 2012). Plains chief Jim Flores was named vice chairman, part of an "office of the chairman" to include Adkerson and Chairman Jim Bob Moffett. Freeport has been revising its compensation policies following criticism by shareholders, which twice have rejected executive pay practices on nonbinding votes. The "say on pay" vote was rejected by 71% this year.