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NEW YORK -- Sara Lee Corp. has chosen Hillshire Brands Co. as the new name for its North American business. The decision comes as Sara Lee preps for its split into two independent pure-play, publicly-traded companies on June 28.
After the split, D.E. Master Blenders 1753 will focus on international coffee and tea, and Hillshire Brands will focus on meat-centric food products and foodservice operations. Hillshire Brands will include several popular, market-leading consumer brands including Jimmy Dean, Hillshire Farm, Ball Park, Aidells, Gallo Salame and State Fair. Hillshire Brands will be listed on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol HSH.
Sara Lee began the move to two companies when it sold a majority of its coffee segment to The J.M. Smucker Co. earlier this year, as CSNews Online previously reported.
"As a pure-play company with strong momentum, we needed a name and identity that captures the potential of this new organization," said Sean Connolly, CEO of Sara Lee North American Retail and Foodservice, who will become CEO of Hillshire Brands. "Hillshire Brands represents our strong heritage in quality and great taste, as well as our ambitions for growing our portfolio of iconic brands in the future."
Sara Lee tapped Connolly to lead the new company earlier this year. He officially came on board Jan. 17, as CSNews Onlinepreviously reported.
Sara Lee turned to the Hillshire Farm brand, which it acquired in 1971, as the lead moniker for the new company. Friedrich (Fritz) Bernegger founded Hillshire Farm in New London, Wis.
"A key goal was to retain the strong equity with consumers and customers that the Hillshire name brings us," Connolly added. "'Hillshire' is a name that stands for quality, integrity and superior taste." After the spin-off, Hillshire Brands' Foodservice division will continue to be known as Sara Lee Foodservice, according to the company.
The company has also adopted a new visual identity to help position Hillshire Brands as a leader focused on providing innovative meat-centric brand and snack solutions, but at the same time, create a distinction between the new corporate name and the leading Hillshire Farm brand. The identity will be instilled throughout the organization through signage, stationery and a branded office space currently under construction in Chicago, a release on the name change detailed.
To assist in crafting a brand image that accurately reflects its new strategic direction and name, the company engaged branding firm Duffy & Partners.