NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Bill Ackman of Pershing Square expects to have an influence over Air Products (APD) CEO search after the hedge fund took a near 10% stake in the chemicals company and supported a transition of the company's CEO seat.
While Ackman is not on the board of the company and Pershing has no appointees, the fund has the right to interview finalists for Air Products CEO hire. Ackman said at the Harbor Investment Conference on Wednesday he would expect that any CEO announcement would come with Pershing's support.
"We don't control the decision, we have a lot of influence over it," Ackman said, while noting that it would be hard for a company to nominate a CEO without support of its largest shareholder.
In September, Air Products named three new independent directors to its board and said current CEO John E. McGlade would retire in 2014. Those changes were accepted by Pershing Square and the fund will now vote in favor of directors nominated by Air Products at its 2014 shareholder meeting.
While Pershing did help to impart change at Air Products and was characterized by sources close to the matter as driving a helpful dialogue, the company was already in the process of making many of the changes announced in September.
Air Products had hired executive search firm Heidrick & Struggles on retainer to find replacements for board directors reaching their retirement age before Pershing disclosed a stake in the company in July, according to one source familiar with the situation.