`Chainsw Al' gets the chop

Al Dunlap, the turnaround wizard who earned the nickname "Chainsaw Al" because of his record of taking charge of ailing corporations and reviving them with huge workforce reductions, was himself given the chop yesterday by the company he has headed for the last two years, Sunbeam.

The board of the Florida-based appliance manufacturer said in a statement that Mr Dunlap was to be replaced by Peter Langerman. Mr Langerman said in a statement that outside directors had lost confidence in Mr Dunlap's leadership. Sunbeam lost $45m (pounds 28m) in the first quarter on a 4 per cent drop in sales.

Soon after his arrival at Sunbeam, Mr Dunlap cut its payroll by 12,000. Last month, he announced a further workforce reduction of 6,400 jobs. At his previous home, Scott Paper, he slashed 18,000 jobs and sold the firm to Kimberly Clark.

Only in February, Mr Dunlap negotiated a new three-year contract with the Sunbeam board worth $2 m a year. Still in good graces then, he boasted: "You can't overpay a great executive ... Don't you think I'm a bargain?"