Sara Lee's Brenda BarnesSara Lee (SLE) CEO Brenda Barnes will step down permanently from her position as chairman and chief executive officer so she can continue to focus on improving her health, the company announced Monday. Barnes had been on temporary medical leave since May 14 after suffering a stroke.

Marcel Smits will continue as interim chief executive officer and Mark Garvey will continue as interim chief financial officer of the food company. Meanwhile, the board will seek permanent replacements.

Barnes has also resigned from the board of directors and will not stand for re-election. James Crown, an independent director, will remain chairman of the board, a role he assumed when Barnes' leave of absence began.

"We fully support Brenda's decision to step down as Chairman and CEO so she can devote all of her time and energy toward improving her health," said Crown. "We will conduct a thorough process to identify a CEO successor in a timely manner, and look forward to sustaining the momentum begun under Brenda's leadership."

On Barnes's performance, Crown added that "During Brenda's six-year tenure as CEO, she successfully transformed Sara Lee into a strong global food and beverage company with a focused portfolio of leading brands." Indeed, Barnes sold off many of the company's businesses to focus on its food and beverage assets. She also managed to boost margins with operational improvements and costs cuts even during the tough economic times.

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mindyhjacobs

Ms Barnes probably suffered a stroke from eating all that high sodium Sara Lee products that has filled her coffers, that along with gallons of Pepsi she drinks to wash it down, not to mention the stress of being a CEO of a major company. This might anger a lot of people but although I strongly believe women can spar with men on an intellectual basis emotionally most of us are not equipped to play the "big boys game" of being in a high powered stressful business situation.

August 10 2010 at 6:52 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
rdnick

She was NOT impressive. The Company was in bad shape when she got it...it is WORSE now...members of the board should resign.

I'm not sorry for hert. She stole MILLIONS from the company.

August 09 2010 at 7:37 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
OMALLEYS12

SHE WAS RESPONCIBLE FOR MOVING OPPOURATION TO KOREA FROM THE USA, AS FOR ME SARA LEE WAS AS AMERICAN AS APPLE PIE, MAYBE THE KOREAINS WILL FEEL SORRY FOR HER, NOT ME!

August 09 2010 at 7:05 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
nocstreet

She probably ate too much of her own product. Any prepared food items are killers. But we eat them anyway.

August 09 2010 at 6:55 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
mshim82261

Stop eating their foods is probably the best preventative measure.

August 09 2010 at 6:51 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
satchel0805

I hope the CEO is okay. I also think Sara Lee products have gone downhill over the past yeatr. My 90 pound Alaskan Malamute gets a whole wheat burger bun with his dinner every day (for 11 years) and he wouldn't eat Sara Lee stuff. I thought it smelled funny so we switched to Aunt Millie's and he sucks it down happily.

August 09 2010 at 6:27 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Dan

That's what happens when you give a job to a woman just because she's a woman, rather than giving it to someone who deserves it.

August 09 2010 at 6:04 PM Report abuse -4 rate up rate down Reply
Jill

Although we do not know you, we send you prayers for your continued healing and recovery from your stroke. We hope you feel progress each day and please know that there are many people you do not know who are praying for you and sending healing thoughts your way.

August 09 2010 at 4:17 PM Report abuse +6 rate up rate down Reply
servicemasterwv

finally a ceo steps down with dignity and im sure stress caused her stroke

August 09 2010 at 12:10 PM Report abuse +10 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to servicemasterwv's comment
ttruckr23

Yeah, the Turd Hurd from HP rips them off & gets $28 mill to hit the door. Wonder if Barnes will get anything for leaving due to helth probs?

August 09 2010 at 10:01 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
yesitkenbe

While I sympathize with Brenda, I have to say many of the workers at our plant are doing the work of 2 people.

August 09 2010 at 11:31 AM Report abuse +5 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to yesitkenbe's comment
Iselin007

Try Walmart they will have you pulling pallets over 1,800 lbs an write you up if you complain. Turn age 55 an you'll be on their crap list.

August 09 2010 at 4:55 PM Report abuse +7 rate up rate down Reply
craig

it would seem...that if each person is doing the work of 2, then they weren't working very hard to begin with...

August 09 2010 at 6:39 PM Report abuse -1 rate up rate down Reply