Cape Town - Aston Villa owner Randy Lerner appointed Steve Hollis as chairman, signalling his intention to take a step back from the running of the struggling Premier League club.
Villa are mired to the bottom of the standings, eight points adrift of safety with 17 games remaining and host high-flying Leicester City on Saturday, hoping to chalk up just a third league win of the season.
American Lerner, who put Villa up for sale in May, described Hollis, a former chairman of Birmingham Metropolitan College, as someone "with a proven track record for getting into the thick of troubled organisations... and getting results".
"Regarding my future role with Villa, I expect to remain engaged with both Steve and Tom (Fox, chief executive) although at a somewhat further distance that I believe suits the reality that I live fulltime in the States...," Lerner said in a statement on the club's website.
With the club firmly on course to be relegated to the Championship (second-tier) at the end of the season, Hollis admitted that things needed to change.
"The club needs a shake up and with Randy's continued support the board will look forward to working with Tom and Remi (Garde, manager) to help drive the changes that our fans rightfully demand," he said.
"I do not underestimate the scale of the challenge that lies ahead."