Sara Lee Corp. has appointed Sean Connolly CEO of its North American Retail and Foodservice business effective January 17, 2012, succeeding Marcel Smits, who had assumed the title temporarily last September until a permanent replacement could be named. Connolly will serve as CEO of MeatCo, Sara Lee’s North American Meats business, following the spinoff of the International Coffee and Tea business, which is expected to be completed in the second quarter of 2012.
Connolly comes from the Campbell Soup Co. where he had served as president of the company’s largest division, Campbell North America, since October 2010. Previously, he served as president of Campbell USA and of the North American Foodservice unit. Connolly joined Campbell in 2002 as vice president of Food Brands after a decade at Procter & Gamble, where he served in various marketing and brand management roles.
"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,” says Sara Lee Executive Chairman Jan Bennink. “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.”
“The North American Meats business, with its leading brands and strong market position, has tremendous opportunities for growth as a pure-play company,” says Connolly. “I look forward to working with an experienced and talented team to build this successful new company and create value for shareholders.”