Under pressure from activist investor Bill Ackman, industrial giant Air Products and Chemicals announced Thursday that it will shake up its board.
Air Products said in a statement that it will add three new independent directors to its Board of Directors and will begin searching for a successor to replace chairman and CEO John E. McGlade, who will retire in 2014.
The changes are supported by Ackman, whose New York-based hedge fund firm Pershing Square Capital Management acquired a 9.8% stake in the company this year. Ackman has called Air Products “a great business in an industry with excellent long-term prospects.”
McGlade will continue to serve as chairman and CEO during the search process and then as chairman for the transition period in 2014. The incoming CEO will also join the Board as a director.
The news follows Ackman’s recent investment fail in JC Penney. Pershing Square, which was the retailer’s largest shareholder, sold its approximate 18% stake last month after a public feud between the two entities. The sale cost Pershing Square about $473 million in losses.
Pershing Square manages about $10 billion in assets. Air Products, which provides products and services to enable customers to become more energy efficient, had nearly $10 billion in sale in fiscal year 2012.