It is appropriate that Delphi Corp. founding CEO J.T. Battenberg III and Visteon Corp. CEO Peter Pestillo retired within weeks of each other.
Both companies are at a crossroads and require a dramatic change in direction.
Delphi was largely Battenberg's vision, which he built into a leading automotive supplier. Pestillo was thrust into Visteon's job late in the game. But both companies face significant changes because they relied too heavily on the automakers from which they were divested.
Visteon took a bold step to launch the post-Pestillo era by cutting costs and shrinking the company's presence in the United States.
Now Visteon is betting its future on the growth of business in Europe and Asia.
At Delphi, new CEO Steve Miller needs to move just as dramatically. Miller is a financial fixer, not an operations specialist. He needs to swing the ax, but he also must repair the damage done to Delphi's reputation by the ongoing federal investigation into Delphi's accounting practices.
Delphi does many things well, and it remains a strong brand. The company has moved strongly into Europe and Asia, finding new customers. But serving General Motors turned out to be an unsustainable strategy.
Delphi has a costly UAW work force, and Miller cannot return unprofitable factories to GM. But he has other options because everyone knows he's a short-timer.
Miller doesn't have to worry about who likes him. He can sweep corners that need cleaning, but he cannot afford to be reckless.
Some on Wall Street speculate that Delphi could seek - or threaten to seek - Chapter 11 bankruptcy status to demand concessions from GM and the UAW.
Other suppliers have done it, and Miller has a track record with Chapter 11. Federal-Mogul was in Chapter 11 when he arrived as CEO, and Bethlehem Steel filed for Chapter 11 about three weeks after Miller took over in 2001.
But Delphi's situation doesn't seem as dire. At Delphi, that tactic could create as many problems as it solves by alienating employees and customers. That could haunt Delphi long after the repairman has left.