Top Companies Report

15. Sun Products

July 11, 2011

Wilton, CT


Sales: $2.0 billion


$2.0 billion (estimated)

Key Personnel:

Jeffrey Ansell, president and chief executive officer; Kris Kelley, executive vice president and chief financial officer; Bob Waldron, chief marketing officer; Perry Beadon, senior vice president, customer development; Gretchen Crist, senior vice president, human resources; Blair Hawley, senior vice president, logistics & distribution; Beth Hecht, senior vice president, general counsel and secretary; Craig Slavtcheff, senior vice president, R&D and quality; Mitch Tinnan, senior vice president, product supply.

Major Products:

Fabric and dish care products including All, Wisk, Snuggle, Sunlight and Sun brands. Also, a small number of personal care brands sold under the White Rain label.

New Products:

Wisk with Stain Spectrum, Snuggle Free Clear, Sunlight Deep Clean, All Oxi Active.


Sun remains the No. 2 player in the U.S. laundry care market, but sales have slipped as the category suffers through intense competition, according to sources. Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services recently downgraded Sun, noting that the company’s performance has declined “due to softness in the US laundry detergent category and increasingly competitive operating conditions.”

Meanwhile, Moody’s Investors Service lowered Sun’s corporate family rating to B2 from B1. According to Moody’s, Sun faces tough competition from “better capitalized operators,” primarily Procter & Gamble and Church & Dwight, Moody’s said. In the company’s favor, Sun has a “good liquidity profile” and no major near-term debt maturities, according to Moody’s.

Earlier this year, Sun CEO Neil DeFeo retired but remains chairman. His replacement is Jeffrey Ansell, who most recently was chief executive officer and a board member of Pinnacle Foods Group, a $2 billion packaged foods company. Prior to that, Ansell was a corporate officer at Procter & Gamble, where he worked for 25 years, with the last seven years as president of the Iams pet care subsidiary. Under his leadership, P&G pet care sales increased nearly $1.0 billion and the Iams brand in North America grew from the No. 5 pet food brand to No. 1.

During the year, Sun relaunched Wisk featuring an improved formula with Stain Spectrum technology. In other moves, the company acquired the US and Canadian Sunlight branded hand and dish care business. The company maintains that its technology center in Trumbull, CT expands its ability to deliver new innovative products, while also demonstrating Sun’s commitment to the community through the creations of jobs and economic growth.

Late last year, Sun settled a lawsuit filed against U.S. Nonwovens, Brentwood, NY, for making and selling products that infringed certain patents, trademarks and trade dress related to its Snuggle, Sunlight and Sun brands. Shortly after Sun Products commenced this lawsuit, U.S. Nonwovens agreed to stop manufacturing and selling products that infringed Sun Products’ intellectual property. The companies entered into discussions and ultimately finalized a settlement agreement, for which financial terms were not disclosed.

Related End-User Markets: