LOS ANGELES—After four years leading the corporate communications function at Occidental Petroleum, west coast public relations veteran Richard Kline is stepping down in August. Melissa Schoeb, currently senior director of communications and public affairs will take over the senior role on an interim basis.

Kline joined Oxy in February of 2007 as vice president of communications and public affairs after spending eight years a regional president and partner at Fleishman-Hillard. Previously, he co-founded Berkhemer & Kline, which grew to become one of the largest independent public relations firms in California before being acquired by GolinHarris. At Golin he led the Los Angeles office before joining sister company Shandwick, where he was president and ran US operations.

At Oxy he was responsible for public relations—including internal and external communications—public affairs and advertising. Says Kline, “We have assembled at Oxy and what we have done to enhance and protect the company's awareness, reputation and perception among key audiences and I believe that we have now accomplished virtually all of the key goals set out for us to achieve when I joined the company.”

Kline adds that the time has come “to move on to other challenges/opportunities…. For the balance of the summer I hope to spend some quality time at my weekend home enjoying ‘mornings on horseback’ as the Teddy Roosevelt bio was entitled, while contemplating what adventure comes next.”

Schoeb has been senior director at Oxy for four years, responsible for social responsibility programs, interactive communications, executive communications, internal communications, issues management, multimedia services and business intelligence. Earlier she was senior vice president and senior partner at Fleishman-Hillard and before that director of global communications at Nortel Networks.