Albert J. Dunlap, a hard-working leader whose drive to turn struggling companies into firing workers and shutting down plants has earned him the nickname of Chainsaw Al, but whose career ended with a Accounting scandal, was extinguished on January 25 at his home in Ocala. He was 81 years old.
The cause is prostate cancer, said Eric Carr, a friend and leader of the University of Florida's sports group, which raised funds, and to which Mr. Dunlap has pledged more than $ 40 million.
Mr. Dunlap is described as an enemy of corporate waste and a servant of the shareholders who benefited from his actions. In the 1990s, when he was running Scott Paper, he laid off 11,200 workers. It was a step he took that earned him a $ 100 million financial reward in salaries, stock profits and other compensation after the engineering of the company's sale to Kimberly-Clark in 1995.
"Of course, people had to be fired, but over time, this business will grow and prosper and new jobs will be created," he said. South Florida Sentinel a little after.
Mr. Dunlap was quickly hired by Sunbeam Corporation, an appliance manufacturer. After a month, Wall Street had anticipated the restructuring plan of Mr. Dunlap, which had increased his shares to 73%. He did not disappoint traders: he quickly announced that he would halve Sunbeam's workforce of 12,000. close or sell most of its factories and other facilities; and reduce its number of product lines.
"I've already done it enough times to recognize the deadly gulf of a company," he said. the journalist Hedrick Smith for Surviving the Bottom Line, a documentary series of PBS. "And this society had the gugle of death."
Unlike other corporate executives who have fired even more employees, Mr. Dunlap, supernaturally confident, has touted without excuse that the brutal effectiveness of his methods were essential to preserve undiminished jobs. In 1996, for example, he took a step forward when dozens of other leaders refused to speak to Newsweek for a cover article titled "Corporate Killers" on downsizing.
"We are painted like villains but not at all," Dunlap said. "We're more like doctors. We know it's painful to operate, but it's the only way to prevent the patient from dying. "
He stated that he was a supporter of corporate governance reforms, such as paying directors in shares rather than cash, in order to better align their interests with those of shareholders, and to limit the directors serve a five-year term.
Mr. Dunlap played the image of a bull in a porcelain store, accepting nicknames such as "Rambo in Pinstripes" and "The Shredder". He preached his motto: "You are not loved in business. If you want a friend, take a dog "- and wrote an autobiography with the title "Medium business: How I saved bad businesses and made great companies great "(1996, with Bob Andelman).
"The Al Dunlaps of the world would not be hired if companies did their job," he wrote. "But because some executives can not make decisions or constantly make the wrong decisions, their incompetence almost screams for an Al Dunlap."
Among his critics was Robert B. Reich, Secretary of Labor in 1996, when Mr. Dunlap announced that he was laying off half of the Sunbeam workers.
"There is no excuse for treating employees as" there were disposable equipment parts, "said Reich. in an interview with the New York Times that year.
Albert John Dunlap was born on July 26, 1937 in Hoboken, New Jersey. Several family accounts indicate that his father was a docker or boilermaker and that his mother was a shop assistant or housewife. Albert played high school football at Hasbrouck Heights, New Jersey, and was a boxer as a cadet at the US Military Academy.
After graduation, he trained as a paratrooper in Fort Benning, Georgia, and was an officer at a nuclear missile facility in Maryland.
He began his career in the business world in Kimberly Clark's management training program, working on "the third shift in a dirty and smelly stationery," he writes in his book. After four years there and becoming Project Manager, he was hired by Sterling Pulp & Paper as General Superintendent and began to straighten out his declining business.
A decade later, he joined American Can in his strategic planning group, before working for Lily-Tulip Cup, a leading manufacturer of paper cups. Crown Zellerbach, a wood and pulp company; and Consolidated Press Holdings, a media and publishing company in Australia.
He was appointed President and Chief Executive Officer of Scott in 1994, after hiring a heavily indebted and depressed business. Two years later, he had arranged the sale of this one to Kimberly-Clark for $ 6.8 billion and had left to take over Sunbeam.
But in June 1998, Dunlap's entrepreneurial career ended quickly.
Sunbeam's board fired him Following several quarterly results, disappointments and regulatory filings showed that Sunbeam had essentially applied 1998 payments – from retailers buying barbecues – to last year's books, thus creating a false picture of a rise in sales in 1997.
The shareholders promptly filed a complaint against Mr. Dunlap and the company. With an overwhelming debt, Sunbeam filed for bankruptcy in 2001.
The news continued to worsen for Dunlap, even in the years following his departure from Sunbeam.
In 2002, he and other Sunbeam executives paid $ 15 million to settle a shareholder dispute that accused them of using inflated stock prices to supplement the company's purchases, Coleman, a manufacturer of camping and recreational products, and First Alert, a manufacturer of smoke alarms.
Later in the year, Dunlap settled a lawsuit filed by the Securities and Exchange Commission alleging several counts of accounting fraud that misrepresented Sunbeam's financial results. he paid a fine of $ 500,000 and agreed to be barred from re-acting as a director or director of a corporation. He neither admitted nor denied the allegations.
In a second edition of his autobiography, published in 2014, Mr. Dunlap removed almost everything he had written about Sunbeam.
The survivors include his wife, Judy Stringer, but complete information about the survivors was not immediately available.
In recent years, Mr. Dunlap was a prominent supporter of the state of Florida, where he spent $ 5 million building a student success center on his Tallahassee campus. announced a $ 20 million donation last October to help build a football facility, which bears his name. A statue of Mr. Dunlap stands on the outside
Despite his generosity to Florida State, Mr. Dunlap's reputation is based more on the fact that he is an unbridled cost driver whose actions have enriched his shareholders and himself.
"I'm a superstar in my field, like Michael Jordan in basketball and Bruce Springsteen in rock 'n' roll," he writes in his autobiography. "My salary should be compared to superstars in other areas, not average C.E.O."