Colby Howard

Published on April 8, 2024

Featured Article

Adient (ADNT) Short: 56.0% Alpha Based on CEO Ability

On November 5, 2018, ManagementTrack recommended a short position on Adient plc (ADNT), predicting that the company would face significant challenges under the leadership of newly appointed CEO Doug Del Grosso. Leveraging an in-depth analysis of Del Grosso’s past performance and a rigorous investigative process, ManagementTrack foresaw operational and strategic misalignments that would lead to underperformance. This case study outlines how ManagementTrack’s unique approach to evaluating executive fit and potential impact on company performance led to a successful short call, generating a 56.0% alpha.

ManagementTrack’s Investigative Process

  1. Interviews with Former Colleagues: ManagementTrack’s team of investigative journalists conducted extensive interviews with ten industry sources and former colleagues who had worked with Del Grosso for over 51 years combined. These interviews provided insights into his leadership style, operational expertise, and past successes and failures.
  2. Analysis of Prior Roles and Achievements: The team closely examined Del Grosso’s tenure at previous companies, including his roles as CEO at Chassix and Henniges Automotive, to assess his operational turnaround experience and its relevance to Adient’s challenges.
  3. Evaluation of Cultural Fit: Del Grosso’s fit within Adient’s corporate culture was scrutinized, considering his hard-nosed management style and the potential impact on employee morale and operational execution.

Why ManagementTrack Believed They Would Succeed

  1. Mismatch Between CEO’s Experience and Company’s Needs: Despite Del Grosso’s strong operational background, ManagementTrack identified a mismatch between his experience with smaller companies and the complex, structural challenges faced by Adient.
  2. Underestimation of Cyclical and Structural Headwinds: ManagementTrack believed that Del Grosso’s aggressive goals and operational focus would be insufficient to navigate the cyclical downturns and structural issues within the automotive industry and Adient’s specific operational challenges.
  3. Cultural Misalignment: The investigative process highlighted concerns that Del Grosso’s demanding leadership style could exacerbate existing cultural and operational issues, leading to further underperformance.

Outcome and Performance

Adient’s stock underperformed relative to its competitors, validating ManagementTrack’s short call. The company faced significant operational challenges and was unable to meet the aggressive turnaround targets set by Del Grosso. This led to a 56.0% alpha generated between the recommendation date and the close date, demonstrating the accuracy of ManagementTrack’s predictive analysis.

Key Takeaways

  1. Executive Fit is Critical: The case underscores the importance of aligning a CEO’s experience and management style with the company’s specific needs and culture.
  2. Operational Expertise Alone is Not Enough: Del Grosso’s operational expertise was insufficient to overcome Adient’s structural challenges, highlighting the need for a more holistic approach to leadership in turnaround situations.
  3. Investigative Journalism Adds Value: ManagementTrack’s investigative process, including interviews with former colleagues and in-depth analysis of past performance, provided unique insights that were instrumental in making a successful short call.


The Adient case study exemplifies how ManagementTrack’s comprehensive analysis of executive ability, combined with a deep understanding of company fundamentals, can lead to successful investment decisions. By focusing on the fit between a CEO’s past experiences and their new role, ManagementTrack was able to accurately predict Adient’s underperformance under Doug Del Grosso’s leadership.

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