Sara Lee Says CEO is Recovering From Stroke

Sara Lee CEO Brenda Barnes is recovering from a stroke, the food maker said Monday.

Brenda Barnes, Chairman and CEO of Sara Lee
Brenda Barnes, Chairman and CEO of Sara Lee

Last month the company said Barnes, 56, would take a temporary medical leave but declined to specify the reason.

"I know there has been a lot of speculation on my condition, so I want to take the opportunity to provide some details," Barnes said in a statement. "I suffered a stroke a few weeks ago, and I am now in the process of recuperating."

CFO Marcel Smits is handling CEO duties until Barnes returns.

Sara Lee said it would provide an update on Barnes' condition and plans by its fiscal fourth-quarter earnings call Aug. 12.

Board member James Crown has taken over Barnes' role as chairman.

Sara Lee, with annual revenue of about $13 billion, makes food under the labels Ball Park, Hillshire Farm, Jimmy Dean, Sara Lee and others.