Deerfield-Ill.-based CF Industries (NYSE:CF) will get a new CEO next year.

On Monday, the world's second-largest producer of nitrogen fertilizer announced that current Chief Executive Officer Stephen R. Wilson intends to retire at the end of this year. CF further announced that it is promoting Senior Vice President for Manufacturing and Distribution and six-year veteran of the firm W. Anthony Will to replace Wilson as CEO on Jan. 1.

Wilson will remain Chairman of the company. He has been CEO since 2003.

In a statement, CF noted that it went through a "rigorous succession planning processĀ ... over a number of years" before determining that Will is the best man to replace Wilson, and that he "has the right experience and capabilities to lead CF Industries."

After watching CF shares lose 12% of their value over the past year, as the broader S&P 500 marched 15% higher, investors seem to be responding positively to the announcement of a change of leadership. CF shares were up nearly 4% in midday trading.

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Fool contributor Rich Smith has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of CF Industries Holdings. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.