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DOWNERS GROVE, Ill. -- Sara Lee Corp. appointed Sean Connolly as CEO of its new MeatCo North American meats business. He will assume the role once Sara Lee spins off its international coffee and tea business, which is expected to take place in the second quarter of this year.
Prior to the spinoff, Connolly will join Sara Lee on Jan. 17 as CEO of its North American Retail and Foodservice business. Connolly comes to Sara Lee from Campbell Soup Co., where he currently serves as president of Campbell North America, which takes in $4.6 billion in annual revenues.
"We are very excited to have Sean Connolly serve as the head of our MeatCo business as we prepare for it to become a separate pure-play, publicly-held company," said Jan Bennink, Sara Lee's executive chairman. "He has extensive experience in the American food industry, coupled with a strong track record as a great innovator, particularly in mature categories. These strengths will allow him to take a fresh look at the business and enable the company to reach its full potential."
Connolly, who holds a bachelor's degree from Vanderbilt University and a master's of business administration from the University of Texas at Austin, said he is excited to lead a newly formed company with tremendous growth opportunities. "I look forward to working with an experienced and talented team to build this successful new company and create value for shareholders," he said.
Once entrenched as CEO of MeatCo, Connolly will be responsible for several brands, including Ball Park, Hillshire Farms and Jimmy Dean.
Sara Lee has been busy preparing for its spinoff. As CSNews Online reported earlier this week, the company made several moves around its international coffee and tea business. Sara Lee sold a majority of its North American coffee business to The J.M. Smucker Co. and bought luxury tea manufacturer, Tea Forté, for an undisclosed sum.