Dana Corp. was once a pillar of stability in the auto industry, but it has spent the last few months checking off items on the bankruptcy suspicion checklist: massive losses, accounting probes, restructuring plans and troubled customers.
On Feb. 24 Dana's stock dropped 52 percent in one day after The Wall Street Journal reported that Dana had hired restructuring firm Miller Buckfire & Co.
Dana has done little to stem the tide of bankruptcy rumors. Its cryptic message to employees and the public: Stay tuned.
Assuming Dana retained Miller Buckfire, we hope CEO Mike Burns has been in touch with a member of that firm's board of advisers: Kenneth Whipple.
Whipple spent 40 years at Ford Motor Co., ending up as president of the Ford Financial Services Group and CEO of Ford Motor Credit Co.
In 2002, Whipple came out of his Ford retirement to rescue CMS Energy Corp., a large Michigan utility that resembled an Enron-to-be. The company had booked billions of dollars in fake energy trades, its CEO had resigned in disgrace and its stock had fallen like a rock.
Whipple took charge with a strategy of accountability and transparency. He didn't hide CMS' many problems, and he wasn't afraid to sell his turnaround plan to Wall Street and the public.
Whipple saved the company -- and he didn't need to bludgeon the company's stakeholders by resorting to Chapter 11 protection.
If Burns and company aren't talking to Whipple, they ought to be.