CEO of Air Products set to retire in 2014
Firm to add 3 directors to board in a shake-up seen as boost for shareholder.
The company, which produces a variety of gases and related services for the energy, electronics, and manufacturing sectors, is nearly 10 percent owned by Bill Ackman's Pershing Square hedge fund, making it Air Products' biggest shareholder.
Air Products said it would start a search for CEO John McGlade's successor promptly.
McGlade, who joined the company in 1976 and took the helm in 2007, will serve as chairman and CEO during the search and remain chairman for a transition period.
Ackman took a stake in Air Products in July, a week after the company adopted a shareholder rights plan to ward off any takeover attempts after it noticed unusual activity in its stock.
The shake-up marks a success for Ackman after two other high-profile bets this year failed. Pershing Square sold its stake in the retailer J.C. Penney Co. for a $500 million loss last month and it has a paper loss on its bet that shares of Herbalife Ltd., a weight-loss and nutritional supplement company, will decline.
Air Products named Edward Monser, Matthew Paull, and Seifi Ghasemi as board members, effective immediately. They will replace three current directors, who will retire before Air Products' 2014 annual meeting. The retiring board members were not named.
Ghasemi, 69, is chairman and CEO of the chemical-maker Rockwood Holdings Inc. Monser, 63, is president and chief operating officer of the industrial control products company Emerson Electric. Paull, 62, was senior vice president and chief financial officer for McDonald's Corp. He retired in 2008.
Shares of Air Products added $2.46, or 2.29 percent, to close at $109.78.
This article includes information from Bloomberg News.