Brenda Barnes, the former CEO of Sara Lee during the time it was the parent company of Oscar Mayer, died on Tuesday, January 17. She was 63 years old. She had stepped down from her leadership role in Sara Lee following a stroke in 2010.
Barnes had been the president and CEO of Pepsi-Cola before stepping down in 1997 to focus on being a full-time mother to her three children. She returned to working full time for Sara Lee in 2004 and succeeded Steve McMillan as CEO the following year. Sara Lee, apart from its bakery products, also owned Kraft/Oscar Mayer along with several non-food brands like Hanes. She helped restructure the company to focus on its food and beverage brands. After her departure, Sara Lee was renamed Hillshire Farm and was acquired by Tyson Foods.
According to the Chicago Tribune, Barnes had worked on her recovery and served on the board of the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago, where she was a patient.
"She lived a wonderful, happy life for the past seven years," said Erin Barnes, her daughter. "She never complained about what happened to her ... one day, after a particularly difficult day at rehab she only said, 'This stinks.'''
Barnes is survived by her children, Erin, Jeff and Brian. Funeral arrangements are pending.
Source: Chicago Tribune