April 03, 2017 Lehigh Valley, Pa.
Air Products (NYSE: APD) today announced that former Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Edward Donley died on April 1 at the age of 95. Donley was Chairman of Air Products from 1978-1986, CEO from 1973-1986, and President and Chief Operating Officer from 1966-1978.
“Our heartfelt condolences go to the Donley family for their loss. Air Products is deeply saddened by the passing of this remarkable man,” said Seifi Ghasemi, Air Products’ chairman, president and chief executive officer. “Mr. Donley played a deeply impactful role in the formation of our company. His accomplishments as a leader were many and substantial, as he led the company through some challenging times and positioned Air Products in several areas for the success we continue to have today. Many of his ideals carry on daily in our company’s objectives, one of the most important being our total commitment to safety.”
“Mr. Donley was also a strong advocate of education at local and national levels, and his and his late wife Inez’s contributions were valued and continue to have great impact today. Personally, I have always had great respect for him and his leadership, as I worked in the industrial gases industry and had great familiarity with Air Products at the time he was Chairman and CEO. Everyone in the industrial gases industry owes a debt of gratitude for the pioneering role Mr. Donley played in shaping the business and markets we serve today,” said Ghasemi.
Donley held several advancing roles with Air Products after joining the company as its 22nd employee in 1943. He began his career as an engineering graduate and designed portable oxygen generators for the Allied bombers in World War II. He was also a sales engineer, sales manager, vice president, vice president and general manager, and executive vice president prior to his appointments to higher positions held with the company, and eventually, as the first successor to Air Products’ initial Chairman, CEO and founder Leonard Pool. Donley retired in 1986 but continued to serve on Air Products’ Executive Committee until 1992 following his term as Chairman and CEO.
Donley was born on November 26, 1921. He graduated from Lawrence Institute of Technology (now Lawrence Technological University) in 1943 with a Bachelor of Mechanical Engineering degree. He completed Harvard Business School’s Advanced Management Program in 1959 and received honorary degrees from Lawrence Tech, Villanova University, Lehigh University, Muhlenberg College, Allentown College of St. Francis DeSales (now DeSales University), Cedar Crest College, Drexel University, Wilkes College, Lafayette College and Moravian College. The Society of the Chemical Industry gave him its highest honor, the Chemical Industry Medal, in 1980. The Pennsylvania Society awarded Donley its Gold Medal for Distinguished Achievements in 1986.
In addition to serving on Air Products Board from 1957-87, Donley served on many business and non-profit boards. He was a director of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce for 11 years (Chairman 1986-87), a board member of the Chemical Manufacturers’ Association (Chairman 1978-79), and a member of the Business Roundtable. Donley was a director of American Standard Companies for 18 years (Chairman 1992-93), Mellon Bank Corporation (lead outside director), Cooper Tire & Rubber Co., Koppers Company, and Pennsylvania Power & Light Co. He served on the Grace Commission, NASA Advisory Council, the National Endowment for Democracy, and the Business-Higher Education Forum.
Donley was active in healthcare and served as a trustee of Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN) and Dorothy Rider Pool Health Care Trust, and working with the Rotary Club to found Lehigh Valley Hospice, Inc. in 1980 – just the second hospice in the United States at the time.
Donley’s main cause and passion was education. Donley served on the boards of Lawrence Tech (11 years as chairman), Carnegie-Mellon University, American College Testing (ACT), the Pennsylvania State Board of Education, University of Pennsylvania School of Engineering, the Council for Higher Educational Accreditation, the National Assessment Governing Board, and the United Negro College Fund. He helped found Pennsylvania Partnerships for Children, led Pennsylvania 2000 and America 2000 initiatives, and chaired the Lehigh Valley Business-Education Partnership.
Donley also led many projects and partnered with several local organizations in Pennsylvania’s Lehigh Valley area. He was on the board of Lehigh Valley Business-Education Partnership, where he served as chairman from 1989-1992. He served on the board of directors of the Lehigh Valley Partnership and the Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation. He also served as chairman of the Development Committee of Community Services for Children/Head Start programs. Donley and his late wife, Inez, gave most of their assets to The Donley Foundation, a trust now run by their children and grandchildren, which has granted millions to literacy and early-childhood education groups.
About Air Products
Air Products (NYSE: APD) is a world-leading Industrial Gases company in operation for over 75 years. The Company’s core industrial gases business provides atmospheric and process gases and related equipment to manufacturing markets, including refining and petrochemical, metals, electronics, and food and beverage. Air Products is also the world’s leading supplier of liquefied natural gas process technology and equipment.
The Company had fiscal 2016 sales of $7.5 billion from continuing operations in 50 countries and has a current market capitalization of approximately $30 billion. Approximately 16,000 employees are making Air Products the world’s safest and best performing industrial gases company, providing sustainable offerings and excellent service to all customers. For more information, visit www.airproducts.com.