Occidental Petroleum Corp. plans to bring back former Chief Executive Stephen Chazen as its new chairman, according to people familiar with the matter, as the oil producer scrambles to right itself amid plunging demand and an activist onslaught by Carl Icahn.

Mr. Chazen, a heavy hitter in the energy world, led Occidental for roughly five years until 2016 and handpicked current CEO Vicki Hollub. His appointment could be announced in the coming days, assuming discussions don’t fall apart.

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