Tom Phillips, a former boss of Mitsubishi Motors Australia, is retiring from Automotive Solutions Group after a tough year.

Chairman Mr Phillips took an executive role in May, when the company’s previous boss Tanya Mason left after a disastrous profit downgrade that saw the group cut its expected revenue by almost a quarter — and shares plunge.

The 4WD accessory maker then fought off a takeover bid by crash repair chain AMA Group (ASX:AMA), which now owns about 31 per cent of the company.

But that’s only part of what Mr Phillips has been going through.

Automotive Solutions (ASX:4WD) revealed in an announcement late on Monday that since the drama began, Mr Phillips has also been recuperating from surgery. He is now stepping down from his role, effective Tuesday.

“Following major surgery in May from which full recovery has been slow and challenging, Tom Phillips stands down from executive chairman role, a little over two months short of his initial full term,” the company said.

Replacing Mr Phillips as chairman will be existing vice chairman Peter Alexander.

Mr Alexander has more than 25 years of experience in automotive and retail, and has previously held senior positions with Subaru and Polaris Industries.

New CEO gets a road test

As well as announcing Mr Phillips’ departure, Automotive Solutions said it had finally found a new CEO in Bryan Granzien.

Mr Granzien’s background is in steel rather than cars, having most recently been CEO of Tata Steel Resources and before that managing director of both NatSteel Australia and Neumann Steel.

The company said Mr Granzien’s experience would help it improve operations behind the scenes.

“With more than 50 per cent of ASG’s earnings before interest and taxes built through steel and alloy fabrication, Mr Granzien’s extensive experience will assist ASG in cost management, procurement processes and structured work processes,” it said.

Mr Granzien will begin immediately, for an initial period of three months.

Automotive Solutions listed on the ASX in December last year through a $30 million initial public offering (IPO), but hasn’t performed well for investors.

Its shares took a nosedive in April after news of the profit downgrade, from about 80c to a low of 25c — just a quarter of the IPO issue price of $1. They closed Monday at 27c.