Richard Armstrong: Sara Lee's Supply Chain Wizard
Richard Armstrong is the proverbial “company” man having spent the majority of his working life employed by Downers Grove, Ill.-based Sara Lee Corp., a $19-billion global marketer of branded products. He joined Hygrade Foods, the suburban production home of Ball Park franks, as an hourly worker in its Tacoma, Wash., facility in 1970. By 1987, he had worked his way up to general manager at Hygrade, having served as supervisor, production scheduler and plant manager during his 19-year tenure. Before attaining his current position as chief supply chain officer of the Sara Lee Food & Beverage unit, Armstrong spent time at Hillshire Farm and Kahn’s New London, Wis., facility as general manager for three years. Next stops included a year at King Cotton Foods in Memphis, Tenn., where he was chief executive officer, and nearly seven years in the same position at Galileo Foods in San Lorenzo, Calif. How this corporate executive, who seemed destined to follow in his father’s path with a career in the military, ended up in a key management position at a top American-based food, beverage and household goods marketer was not by design.