Sara Lee CEO Barnes Out on Medical Leave

Sara Lee has announced its CEO, Brenda Barnes, will step down immediately for a medical leave, making Marcel Smits, executive vice president and chief financial officer, temporary CEO in her absence.

According to a late Friday press release, James Crown, lead independent director, will serve as chairman of the board. Mark Garvey, a senior vice president with Sara Lee , will assume Smits' former post.

In addition, the company announced that it is forming an Office of the Chairman, pooling Smits and other top executives to "further enhance operational efficiencies."

The company did not disclose further details regarding Barne's medical leave.