I don't particularly like parts of the new system, but I do believe the idea of assigning group commanders with skills/perks along with pre-battle deployment is a good step forward.
It just needs to give control (or "micromanagement") of the troops back to the player!
People have clearly voiced what they want in assigning troops so I think the Devs (@Callum @MRay ...etc) will take that into account and improve on the new system!
You could assign commanders in the party screen. Just by putting them the formation you wanted them to command. Foot units ? Just don't have then on a horse.