The board said it has started a process to elect a new CEO looking at both internal and external candidates. In the meantime, Marcel Smits will continue as interim CEO and Mark Garvey will continue as interim CFO, the company said.
Chairman of the board James Crown said in a statement: "We fully support Brenda’s decision to step down as chairman and CEO so she can devote all of her time and energy toward improving her health. She is a remarkable leader who is admired by those inside and outside of the Sara Lee family, and we fully understand and respect her decision. We will conduct a thorough process to identify a CEO successor in a timely manner, and look forward to sustaining the momentum begun under Brenda’s leadership.”
Barnes had spent six years as CEO at Sara Lee.