NEW YORK — Sara Lee Corp. promoted Lee Chaden to chief executive officer of its branded apparel business, succeeding Cary McMillan, who has resigned from the company’s board and is leaving Sara Lee, the company said Sunday.
Additionally, the firm appointed Brenda Barnes to the position of president and chief operating officer. She will begin in her new role July 1, reporting to Sara Lee Corp.’s chairman, president and ceo, C. Steven McMillan, no relation to Cary. Steven McMillan has served as operations chief for several years, but did not hold that title. He will relinquish the post of president to Barnes and remain chairman and ceo.
Chaden, who begins in his new post today, currently is an executive vice president responsible for Sara Lee’s global marketing and sales efforts. He will report to Barnes once she comes on board, and will gradually cede the marketing and sales functions to her.
Chaden joined Sara Lee in 1991 and was named ceo of Sara Lee Intimates in 1994. Before his current position, he was ceo of the company’s European branded apparel business from 1999 to May 2003.
“Lee not only brings a strong strategic vision to Sara Lee Branded Apparel, but he also has a proven track record of building successful apparel businesses around the world,” said McMillan in a statement. “Further, Lee was the primary architect behind our brand segmentation strategy, Sara Lee’s long-term strategy for delivering stronger growth. Clearly, Lee possesses the leadership skills and operational excellence to run Sara Lee’s largest line of business.”
With $6.4 billion in sales, the branded apparel business accounted for 35 percent of Sara Lee’s $18.29 billion in fiscal 2003 revenues.
Barnes was a 22-year veteran of PepsiCo, culminating in her promotion to ceo of PepsiCola North America, a position she held from 1996 to 1998. Since then, she served as interim operations chief for Starwood Resorts and currently sits on the boards of Avon Products Inc. and Sears, Roebuck & Co., among others.