Sara Lee boss says turnaround still on track

Posted by Isobel Drake on 18th September 2009

The Chief Executive of Sara Lee, Brenda Barnes, has sought to reassure investors that the company is making progress in their turnaround process as their share price fails to ignite excitement.

Ms Branes has been leading the food manufacturer through a four-year turnaround program and told investors and analysts this week that the company’s long-term growth will be driven by a number of key strategies, namely: focus resources in core categories and geographies, expand in high growth developing markets, exit non-core businesses, reduce costs, improve efficiency and simplify, create a high-performance culture and use mergers and acquisitions as a tool.

“Our model is working,” Ms Barnes maintained, according to Chicago Business. “We believe in the end consistently delivering results over time – getting stronger, bigger brands, better results – eventually our stock price will respond.”

The broad strategies have already seen a number of divestments, with their household and body-care business the latest to be put up for sale. Ms Barnes said the company had made “significant progress” with the sale (which has now been drawn out beyond six months), but nothing has been finalised.

Sara Lee’s Chief Executive added that she sees significant growth opportunities overseas with their coffee business while premium products like omega-3 fortified bread are anticipated to further boost sales.