OKLAHOMA CITY -- This week, Force Protection ( FRPT) took aim at its own CEO. The military vehicle maker announced the "retirement" of Gordon McGilton late Tuesday with the company's stock -- once a $30 highflier -- hovering near a 52-week low. But the damage has already been done. Less than a year ago, Force Protection monopolized a lucrative niche industry as the leading seller of mine-resistant ambush-protected vehicles. Since last summer, however, the company has steadily lost market share to larger rivals managed by veterans in the manufacturing industry. Navistar ( NAVZ) and BAE Systems now rank as the leaders of the multibillion-dollar MRAP program. McGilton cashed out most of his Force Protection stock when the company was still on top. Early last year, he exercised 1 million options -- right after they vested -- and sold the underlying stock at nearly five times the current share price. He retains just a minor stake in the company. Force Protection showered McGilton with stock options just days before adopting a new compensation policy that abolished option grants for employees. Force Protection has favored McGilton in other ways as well. Perhaps most notably, the company has paid the CEO's firm -- known as APT Leadership -- more than $1 million for consulting and training services. In addition, a lawsuit filed by former executives claims, the company shelled out $50,000 for early-stage APT software that was still being tested for bugs.