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   Sara Lee Says CEO Brenda Barnes Taking Medical Leave
by Matthew Boyle, Bloomberg
Posted: Monday, May 17, 2010 at 3:58PM EDT

Sara Lee Corp. said Chief Executive Officer Brenda Barnes is taking a temporary medical leave of absence, prompting the food maker to create a special group to oversee the company’s strategy.

Barnes, 56, will be off effective immediately, the Downers Grove, Illinois-based company said today in a statement. Jon Harris, a spokesman, declined to comment on her condition or when she would return. Marcel Smits, executive vice president and chief financial officer, will be interim CEO.

“It was a total surprise to me, and not a welcome one,” Tim Ramey, an analyst at D.A. Davidson & Co., said in a telephone interview. “That said, we like Marcel a lot. He’s been an extremely quick study at Sara Lee, and has a great understanding of where this company needs to go. I don’t think this company is at risk.” Ramey, based in Lake Oswego, Oregon, recommends buying the shares.

To read the rest of this story please go to: Bloomberg

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