Alcoa named three new board members in a deal with a major stakeholder as the company prepares to split in two.

In exchange, activist investor Elliott Management, which owns about 7.5 percent of Alcoa's stock, will support the aluminum maker's choice of directors who are up for election this year during May's annual shareholder's meeting.

Commodities prices have been in a severe decline as signs of a global economic slowdown persist, and industrial companies like Alcoa have taken the brunt of the damage. Its shares have been cut in half over the past year, and are down 27 percent so far this year.

Alcoa said in September that it would split into two companies, one focusing on bauxite, aluminum and casting operations, the other, on the more profitable sectors of engineering, transportation and rolled metal used to make everything from automobiles to aircraft. Alcoa said that each individual entity would be stronger as a stand-alone company.

The new board members, Ulrich Schmidt, John C. Plant and Sean O. Mahoney have backgrounds in the aerospace, automotive and finance sectors.

Schmidt is the former executive vice president and chief financial officer of both Spirit Aerosystems Holdings, Inc. and Goodrich Corp. He also served on the board of directors of Precision Castparts Corp. until last month.

Plant is the former chairman CEO of TRW Automotive, which was acquired by ZF Friedrichshafen AG in May 2015.

Alcoa touted Mahoney's experience in capital markets and business strategy across a wide variety of companies and sectors, including industrial and automotive. Mahoney currently serves on the boards of Delphi Automotive, Cooper-Standard Holdings Inc., and Formula One Holdings.

Alcoa shares fell 9 cents to $7.20 in afternoon trading.