Sunbeam was formed in 1897 as the Chicago Flexible Shaft Company. The
company originally manufactured and sold agricultural tools. By 1910 the company
introduced the iron as its first electrical home appliance. Later other appliances such as
mixers, toasters and coffeemakers were introduced. Sunbeam came to be known as a
recognized designer, manufacturer and marketer of innovative consumer products aimed
at improving lifestyle. In 1946, the company changed its name to Sunbeam Corporation.
In 1960, Sunbeam acquired Oster which allowed Sunbeam to expand into other home
products such as hair dryers and health and beauty appliances. The company later added
electric blankets, mattresses, humidifiers, vaporizers and thermostats, among other
innovations. Sunbeam soon became the leading manufacturer of electric appliances. In
1981, Sunbeam was acquired by Allegheny International (AI); and although Sunbeam
was AI‟ s most profitable unit, poor management caused Sunbeam to experience major
financial difficulties, and the company was eventually forced into bankruptcy in 1988.
In 1990, Michael Price, manager of Mutual Shares, corporate turnaround
executive Paul Kazarian, and hedge fund manager Michael Steinhardt purchased the
bankrupt Sunbeam. Under their leadership, Sunbeam went public as Sunbeam-Oster in
1992. Despite these obstacles, the board at Sunbeam felt that a profitable future was
ahead, and they just had to search for someone to lead them in the right direction.
Kazarian, who then became CEO, and Price retained 44% ownership in the company.
The years following were tumultuous ones for Sunbeam. Executives at Sunbeam grew
increasingly agitated at Kazarian‟ s no risk policies. Kazarian was reportedly hesitant to
manufacture too much inventory in the event items would not sell making it difficult to
fill retailer‟ s orders. More importantly, he was hesitant to invest in the development of
new products, processes or facilities. This was particularly troubling to the board since
Sunbeam‟ s longevity was dependent on its abilities to create innovative products for
consumers at the lowest possible cost. In January 1993, Kazarian was forced out of the
company due to his erratic behavior and abrasive management style. After that, Sunbeam
recruited Roger Schipke to replaced Kazarian’s position. In the beginning Wall Street
approved the Schipke’s strategies and leadership. Schipke able to bring in outside
executive to inject new ideas. These effort resulted an increasing of new product
offering. Revenues had increase by 10% and stock price increase by 22%. However, In
December 1995 was not as rosy as expected. The Sunbeam’s stock had dropped over
15% per share. Schipke explained in his letter to the shareholders in the 1995 annual
report that the disappointing results were due to factors out of his control. Sunbeam had
experienced price increases for raw materials and commodities that could not be passed
along to the consumer given the competitive retail environment. Finally, Schipke resign
early in 1996.
In July 1996, Sunbeam’s BOD hired Albert J Dunlap as CEO and Chairman to
revive the company from period when Sunbeam’s sale and profit is continuously fall and
make an attractive acquisition target. Al Dunlap had a reputation of quick corporate
turnarounds resulting in dramatic increases in share value. His management philosophy
was based on the premise that maximization of shareholder wealth should be the primary
goal of the firm. His strategy was to cut costs at all levels of the organization and return
the corporate focus to its core products while searching for a buyer for the newly-
organized company. His strategy is to take sick company and turn it around within a
year. Finally Dunlap got the promises, 1997 proved to be great year Sunbeam when the
stock price sky-rocketing to $50 per share from over $15 per share. Sales and net income
had reached record levels by the fourth quarter. The stock price was the highest in the
industry, selling at 2-3 times its competitors. Sunbeam realized an overall sales increase
for the year of 22% with earnings higher than analyst expectations. In a press release,
Dunlap explained that the increase in earnings was partially due to the introduction of 35
new U.S. products and 54 new international products. International sales were up 34%
for the year and domestic sales benefitted from the opening of 22 factory outlet stores.
Dunlap was also pleased to announce that in the 4th quarter, they had achieved 20%
operating margins with a 17% overall operating margin for the year.9 Dunlap was even
more optimistic in his 1998 forecasts. He expected Sunbeam to have another record year
achieved by continuing with their global expansion and introduction of new and
innovative product lines. In Fact, Wall Street appreciated Dunlap’s no-nonsense
approach to management as reflected in the rise of the company‟ s stock price.
After Dunlap is hired as CEO then Dunlap ask Sunbeam’s BOD for recruited
Russell Kersh as a partner to be CFO of Sunbeam. Dunlap or “Chainsaw Al” had done
for 1997 to eliminate half of Sunbeam 6000 employees and 87% of Sunbeam product but
in fact, 1997 reported sales raise 18,7%. A1 Dunlap made drastic operational changes to
Sunbeam while on his recent downsizing rampage, including cutting 50% of employees,
closing 18 of 26 factories, 37 of 61 warehouses and 39 of 53 facilities, and eliminating
87% of the company's products. While this restructuring appear to have been successful,
evidenced in higher revenues, a soaring stock price and healthy profits in 1997, it is
really too early to declare Sunbeam a winner after just one good year until there is some
evidence of positive long-term trends. Then in March 1998, Sunbeam success acquisition
three companies Coleman stoves, Mr Coffee, and First Alert by paid around $2.5 billion.
For this achievement Dunlap rewarded with $2 million annual salary and got stock
option. Al also gave stock option to 250 of 300 top officer at Sunbeam. There was
significant value for them to lose $1 million if they resign before end of period. The
potential gain causes why senior executive endured by Dunlap’s intimidation.
A lot of achievement when Dunlap as CEO of Sunbeam such as increasing
profit and success acquired three companies. Unfortunately, Al had used manipulative
accounting technique to inflate Sunbeam’s financial result. The senior executive had
success to create the illusion of great restructuring of Sunbeam in order to inflate its
stock and thus increasing value as acquisition target. For this target, Al asked senior
executive for used “number” that provided by him and Kersh. If there was deduction of
number which is provided by Al could cover with others part for changing the “number”
in order to Al’s target can be accepted by Wall Street.
A lot of way to achieve this target. Al used earning management technique to
falsify Sunbeam’s financial result and disguised its bad financial condition. In fact,
senior executive created $35 million in improper restructuring reserves and do “cookie
jar”, it means Al increasing Sunbeam’s reserve (expense) as part of restructure in year
ended 1996, so this way could improve income the next period. The overstatement of
restructuring expenses by new installed management team or we called the “big bath”
approach because of the attribution of large losses to ousted management (leave it clean
for the new team). Dunlap had fraud for reached achievement in Sunbeam. One of fraud
that Dunlap have done is creating overstatement restructuring charges thus increase
“cookie jar” reverses to be recovery at next period in other to would improve profit.
Dunlap could cheating without board of director knew what he have done because
Dunlap creating $35 million when Sunbeam restructuring and BOD’s though it fair if
restructuring would spend many expenses. The create number that improper as follows:
Created overstated restructuring cost in conformity in GAAP as much $18.7
$6 million overstatement from reserve of $12 million against a future
$2.1 million created from inventory loss by erroneously considering some goods
inventory as bad
$2.3 million was overstating of advertising expense in 1996 but realize service
Overstatement of part the $21.8 million reserve for cooperative advertisement for
Beside inflate profit, Dunlap also suspected in “bill and hold” sales. This
activity began to be used in second quarter in 1997. It means Sunbeam inflated goods
order for next period than real goods shipping and its bill payment. Sunbeam offered to
hold the goods in Sunbeam’s warehouse until the requested. In addition, Sunbeam would
guarantee the goods such as shipment and interest expense. In fact, Sunbeam had good
“correlation” with wholesaler in order to easy to manipulated sales and inventory of
Dunlap trick continuous to sales practice. Dunlap was not reported or
nondisclosure infrequent sales as much $19.6 million of a one time sale in 1997 and
without disclosure thus give investor a false report of sustainable sales. A lot of kind of
sales which is unable to recognize as revenue but Dunlap recognize all sales as revenue
and designed total of quick sales. Dunlap also deleted transaction record to conceal
pending return of merchandise. Dunlap created “early-buy incentives” it means Sunbeam
offered excessive discount to motivate customer make order before they would declare
order actually. Bill and hold, early-buy incentive, and nondisclosure frequent sales would
acquire as “Channel-stuffing”, it means overloading of distribution of channels by
forcing the part of channels such as wholesaler, distributor, retailers etc. to acquire the
goods before they would order them. This practice causes goods ordered clog up the
channels and delay further order until the backlog is sold.
In other hand, Sunbeam’s executive erased Sunbeam’s computer system of
product return authorization in first quarter of 1998. Although Sunbeam have to respect
their agreement, many return were delayed so that the company reserve for return
appeared to be adequate when it was understated and income correspondingly improved.
Executive of Sunbeam also fraud in recognize of income when Sunbeam sales spare
parts inventory to a company that had serviced Sunbeam product for a fixed fee per unit
$11 million and $5 million income was recorded. Strangely executive of Sunbeam was
extending the first quarter in 1998 from March 29 to 31. This way is purposed to increase
sales in quarter. However, it was nondisclosure in financial statement of Sunbeam as
much $38 million.
While the Dunlap and executive team were manipulating the financial reports,
they were also making continuous stream of misleading statement to financial analysts,
SEC, and stockholders. SEC though that this overstatement manipulative of Sunbeam’s
income by 50%. It would influence to decision of investing public significantly.
Interestingly, there were two persons who knew about Dunlap’s fraud practice.
They are Deidra DenDanto, 26-years old recently hired as member Sunbeam’s internal
auditor staff and Andrew Shore, a stock analysis at Paine Weber. Deidra challenged the
manipulative practices from the start, but got little support from supervisor. She resigned
finally on April 3. Because of Deidra tragedy, Shore became wary to high inventory and
account receivable levels Dunlap creating.
In addition, Sunbeam auditor, Arthur Anderson, after all tragedy happened, it is
unreasonable for they didn’t know about the manipulation, poor internal control f sales,
inventory, account receivable associated with the computer breakdown. Many people
supposed that Anderson staff didn’t review the internal auditor reports. If they do it
strategically, they would identify the abnormal growth of inventory and account
receivable that Shore did. Dendra DenDanto, a internal auditors and ex-Arthur auditor
knew of the accounting manipulations. how can the auditor in Arthur Anderson didn’t
get evidence that financial statement was manipulated by executive’s Sunbeam. Arthur
Anderson assumed that “number” in financial statement which was provided by Dunlap
as not material.
Finally, due to manipulation of financial report, Sunbeam induced by SEC to
provide the financial statement during six quarters. In 2001, SEC also accused Arthur
Anderson was not competence in duty so Anderson agreed to pay Sunbeam’s
shareholders $110 million to settle a class action lawsuit. The disadvantage of this cases
reached number $4.4 billion and stock price decrease sharply from $52 per share to $7
per share. Moreover, Sunbeam and employee had to endure it so Sunbeam was leaved by
Discussing about Sunbeam case, we must explain the category of offense that
happened above. A lot of fraud in Sunbeam when Dunlap as CEO and chairman.
Intimidation of others executive in Dunlap also did by Dunlap in order to they would not
resign and join with Dunlap for manipulated account in Sunbeam. Dunlap also asked
BOD to recruited Russel Kresh as CFO for help him in forecasting. In other hand, they
manipulated financial data and created fraud activity so people would see an illusion of
Our groups have analyzed Sunbeam case in part of lesson, as follows:
III.1 Human and Universes
Manipulating accounting in financial report thus inflate profit of Sunbeam by this
way in order to stockholder who didn’t know the practice wanted to invest in
Sunbeam. However, the fraud practices was knew by SEC so the manipulation of
financial report spread fast to other countries. This situation made value of
Sunbeam decrease, it is noticed by decreasing stock price.
In our opinion, the bad situation in Sunbeam would effect to its county. As
example, the country where Sunbeam operated would got negative assessment
from other country in order to effected of reduce investor’ confidence to invest and
it would harm other companies value.
In addition, Dunlap eliminated Sunbeam’s 6000 employees, it would effect in daily
live like safety because number of unemployment in this country would increase, it
means crime would increase too. Moreover. It could impact in inflation rate
because productivity would decrease and high money circulation.
III.2 Theory of Ethics
Egoism is one of theory ethics that suitable for Dunlap case. We think Dunlap only
focus to how he gets big result, big profit, and he intimidate executive senior to
follow his way to used “number” which was provided by him and Kresh. Dunlap
harm employee when he eliminated they for reach his purpose. Senior executive
made channels disadvantage with Sunbeam sales policy. Moreover, senior
executive created a misleading statement to financial analysts, SEC, and public
III.3 Good Corporate Governance
GCG have five principles that became guidelines for personal ethic business as
Transparency. Sunbeam didn’t disclosure report of transaction so financial user had
not information about financial performance of Sunbeam. Executive team, Dunlap
and Kresh conceal additional information about sales discount and extended sales
of date in first quarter.
Accountability. Dunlop didn’t properly record and report financial statement. It
was evidenced by the number of credit sales. Moreover, Dunlap improved reserve
and recognized it in current year in order to would increase income next period. I
think these practice broke the conservatism concept.
Responsibility. Sunbeam violated its responsibility of employee. Dunlap
eliminated half of Sunbeam’ 6000 employees. I think it would effect to systematic
things unlikely bad for the country. Arthur Anderson also discharged its
responsibility of auditing the financial statement of Sunbeam.
Independency. Sunbeam didn’t held its independency well because Dunlap
occupied as CEO and chairman. It made democracy is closed and facilitated senior
executive to cheat and manipulation the financial report. Therefore function of
organs in company (Board of commissioners, audit committee, Independent BOD,
and Corporate Secretary) is needed.
Fairness. Due to Dunlap position as CEO and chairman, it created company
environmental was met by private interest. Company vision more dominated for
increasing stock price. Therefore Sunbeam absorbed fund stakeholders and Dunlap
took profit fatly.
Talk about CSR means fulfillment of Sunbeam responsibility related stakeholders
and ensure that the operational of Sunbeam didn’t harm their environmental. When
Dunlap eliminated half of Sunbeam employee and without though employee
prosperity, it broke the rules of CSR about employee. Sunbeam had to ensure the
employee who Dunlap was laid off by give them severance in respect of
III.5 Approaches to Ethical Decision Making
The bad decision making happened in Sunbeam because Dunlap had two position
as CEO and chairman too. It would difficult to express opinion in senior executive.
So Sunbeam only depend on Dunlap’s decision.
Consequences. Dunlap and Kresh as executive of Sunbeam didn’t think about what
he effect would happen if their “number” that used in financial statement is known
by outside or SEC. The consequence from their act is decreasing of stock price
sharply and paying settlement to public. Arthur Anderson have badly audited
performance in Sunbeam so the consequence of its activity is litigating and had to
pay for disadvantage.
Humanism. I think humanism ethic is suitable to explain what happen when in
Sunbeam because it is concerned with moral which based on intuition, human
reason and character. Dunlap though that he didn’t recognize fraud in press release,
he have do the right thing for operation company.
1. Explain how chainsaw Al used “cookie jar” reserves to inflate Sunbeam’s profit?
Dunlap used “cookie jar” reserve because he is also restructuring the
company. Dunlap restructured the old management with the new
management group. It means would raise expense of restructured thus
Dunlap thought he could inflate this expense with “cookie jar” reserve,
inflate reserve against a future environmental litigation, and advertising
expense thus not reported it accordance with GAAP.
2. Can “bill and hold” practice ever be considered sales that should be recorded in
the period in which the goods are initially “held”?
3. Why didn’t Sunbeam’s board of Directors catch on to the manipulation?
4. How should board make sure that it gets the information it needs to monitor
management actions and accounting policies?
5. If you are a professional accountant who reports an ethical problem to your
supervisor who does nothing, what more you should do?
6. What problem can you identify with Arthur’s work as auditors?
7. How should a board assess the performance of their company’s auditor?
8. While it is attractive to have a CEO that is a strong person with a high profile,
how should a board manage or keep track of such person without demotivating
9. Can board effectively monitor a CEO who is also the chair of the board?
Dunlap’s scandal harm a lot of people in environment of Sunbeam. Sunbeam have a bad