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Sara Lee taps former Pepsi CEO as president

CHICAGO -- Brenda Barnes, who once walked away from a job as president and CEO of PepsiCola North America to spend more time with her children, will become the president and chief operating officer at Sara Lee Corp., the company announced yesterday.

Barnes, 50, spent 22 years at PepsiCo, holding several positions until she was named president and CEO at PepsiCola North America in 1996. She made headlines when she quit in 1998 to be with her family.

She served as interim president and chief operating officer at Starwood Hotels & Resorts from November 1999 until March 2000.

In recent years, Barnes has served as a director on a number of corporate boards, including those of Avon Products Inc., The New York Times Co., Sears, Roebuck & Co., and Staples Inc.

"We are delighted to have a leader of Brenda's talent and experience joining Sara Lee's senior executive team," said C. Steve McMillan, the company's chairman and CEO in a statement of the appointment that is effective July 1. "Brenda brings a tremendous wealth of knowledge, integrity and operational expertise to the company and her reputation for delivering results while building strong branded business makes her an excellent match for Sara Lee."

Barnes will report to McMillan.

The Chicago-based company also named Lee A. Chaden as chief executive of its branded apparel unit. He replaces Cary D. McMillan, who resigned from the company's board of directors and is leaving Sara Lee, the company said in its news release. McMillan, 62, is no relation to C. Steven McMillan.

The moves come less than two weeks after the company posted third-quarter earnings that showed that the branded apparel unit, which includes underwear and legwear and is Sara Lee's biggest business line, was the only division with lower earnings.

Overall, Sara Lee posted a better-than-expected 40 percent increase in the third quarter-earnings.

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