Sara Lee Corporation appoints new CEO

&to=http://' target=_blank>Sara Lee Corporation yesterday unveiled a sweeping restructuring including the spin-off of its apparel business, disposals and the appointment of a new chief executive.

The move addresses years of investor concern that the company was spread too thinly across too many businesses.

Sara Lee's products range from Playtex underwear to cheesecake, breads, Douwe Egberts coffee and Kiwi shoe polish.

It also comes as consumer goods and &to=http://' target=_blank>food companies are moving to tackle the increased power of retailers, which are their biggest customers, reports Financial Times.

According to the Sun-Sentinel, after years of tinkering with a product mix that includes more than 150 brands, from Jimmy Dean sausage to Champion sportswear, company officials said it will now home in on the meat and bakery items that are the core of the 66-year-old company.

Sara Lee named president and chief operating officer Brenda Barnes its new chief executive officer, replacing Steve McMillan, 59, who will remain chairman until October.

The Chicago-based company said it would spin off its $4.5 billion U.S. apparel portfolio, which also includes Champion sportswear and L'eggs hosiery, into a new public company. That plan does not include its $1.8 billion European apparel unit, which the company is in the process of auctioning off.

Barnes, who has a master's degree in business administration from Loyola University in Chicago, was head of PepsiCo's Pepsi-Cola North American unit until the end of 1997 when she left to spend more time with her family.

She had spent 22 years at PepsiCo in posts including vice president of marketing for Frito-Lay. From November 1999 to March 2000, she served as interim president and chief operating officer of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc.

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