Shareholders of Transocean Ltd. approved a $1 billion dividend and rejected a company-backed plan to discharge directors and executives for liability stemming from last year''s Gulf of Mexico oil spill, according to the Associated Press. The company also said former chairman and CEO J. Michael Talbert was elected chairman. Transocean owned the Deepwater Horizon rig that BP PLC was leasing and operating when an explosion killed 11 workers and created the massive oil spill. Both companies face lawsuits. Transocean board members proposed to discharge themselves and company executives from liability for any actions in 2010, saying the practice is customary for companies in Switzerland, where Transocean is now based. Shareholders who voted for the proposal would have effectively dropped their right to take part in shareholder lawsuits over the rig explosion. Lawsuits have charged that the company made misleading statements about safety risks and the ability to prevent blowouts.