Teledyne Technologies Inc. announced late Tuesday that its longtime leader, Robert Mehrabian, will step down as chief executive and take on the position of executive chairman effective Jan. 1.

Al Pichelli, who has been the president and chief operating office of the Thousand Oaks company, will become chief executive.

Teledyne provides sophisticated instrumentation, digital imaging products and software and electronics for the aerospace and defense industries, among other things.

Mehrabian, 77, whose employment contract has been extended through 2023, will remain active with the company, focusing on strategy, technology and mergers and acquisitions programs.

“Al and I will work side by side, leading the development and execution of Teledyne’s growth strategy,” Mehrabian said in a statement.

Mehrabian was born to Armenian parents in Iran, according to his online biography. He emigrated to the United States for school and got a Ph.D. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1968. He was president of Carnegie Mellon University from 1990 to 1998 and then became involved with Teledyne at its formation in 1999.

The announcement came before Teledyne reported its third quarter results, which outpaced Wall Street expectations.

The company on Wednesday reported net income of $90.3 million ($2.43 a share) on revenue of $725 million for the quarter ending Sept. 30. That’s well up from net income of $69 million ($1.90) on revenue of $662 million in the same period a year earlier.

Analysts on average expected earnings of $2.05 a share on revenue of $711 million, according to Thomson Financial Network.

Shares in Teledyne (TDY) closed down $1.32, or less than 1 percent, to $219.97 on the New York Stock Exchange.