OKLAHOMA CITY -- Force Protection's ( FRPT) embattled CEO has received his marching orders. Gordon McGilton will leave the company on Jan. 31, ending a three-year stint as leader of the military vehicle maker. McGilton departs a very rich man, thanks to huge stock sales prior to a sharp downturn in the company's shares. Force Protection once ranked as the nation's top supplier of mine-resistant ambush-protected vehicles. However, rivals Navistar ( NAVZ) and BAE Systems -- larger companies led by manufacturing veterans -- have recently overtaken Force Protection to become the
new leaders of the multibillion-dollar MRAP program. Frustrated investors have increasingly blamed McGilton, a leadership training guru , for that downturn. They sent Force Protection's stock up 6% to $4.39 late Tuesday after news of his retirement. Michael Moody, a financial adviser who joined Force Protection's board in 2006, will take over as chairman and interim CEO until a permanent leader can be found. Moody expressed strong confidence in Force Protection's future despite its troubling setbacks. "Force Protection is in a great position to build on the foundation of the company's innovative, lifesaving, ballistic- and blast-protected wheeled vehicles," Moody stated on Tuesday. "It is an honor to be entrusted with this transitional role. And I welcome the challenges and opportunities, as we work to advance the company's strategy for continued growth and success."