The company said on Thursday that CEO John McGlade will retire next year. It will also add three new independent directors to its board, effective immediately, Reuters noted.
To make way for the new directors, three current board members will retire next year.
McGlade will serve as chairman for some period next year to guide the transition. Air Products says it has retained an executive search firm to begin looking for a new CEO.
The moves are seen as a response to pressure from activist investor Bill Ackman, whose Pershing Square Capital Management investment firm has been urging a change in direction for the company, whose results have been outpaced by rivals including Linde AG, Praxair (PX) and Air Liquide.
Pershing Capital has said it will back two of the proposed new board members at the company’s 2014 annual meeting.