"It's been one misstep after another," said David Lim, senior equity analyst with Wells Fargo Securities. "The communication and expectation have been really disappointing. During this time, the value destruction on the stocks has just been horrendous."
In the long term, Adient needs a top executive with operational and manufacturing expertise over financial fluency, Lim said, and that leader needs to be bold enough to hit the reset button.
McDonald, who will stay on as an adviser until Sept. 30, spent his career as a finance executive and accountant in the automotive space.
"I think they need someone who's worked intimately on the factory floor and engineered some of the products they've made," Lim said.
Henderson was GM's CFO and then its CEO during the crisis era of its 2009 bankruptcy. His leadership role, during a period of public and political wrath toward the carmaker, followed a 25-year company career that saw him run difficult operations in Latin America, the Middle East, Asia-Pacific and Europe. After the departure of Rick Wagoner, it fell to Henderson to make tough strategic changes, including the decision to sell off GM's expensive European business, Opel. That plan was overruled and scrapped when Henderson was replaced in 2009 — only to be resurrected last year by CEO Mary Barra, who sold Opel to France's PSA.