Sara Lee has announced that chairman and chief executive officer (CEO), Brenda Barnes, will take a temporary medical leave of absence. The company has named Marcel Smits, executive vice president and chief financial officer (CFO), to serve as interim CEO until Barnes returns.
As CFO, Smits is responsible for the corporation’s accounting, tax, treasury, procurement and information technology departments. He joined the company in October 2009 from Dutch telecom leader Koninklijke KPN, where he also served as CFO. At KPN, Smits oversaw a number of acquisitions and restructurings that drove top-line growth and bottom-line savings. Prior to KPN, Smits was CFO of Vendex KBB (now known as Maxeda), a Dutch retail group, where he also managed the IT function. In addition, Smits held various financial and management positions in Europe, South America and Asia during his 13-year career at Unilever.
The company has named Mark Garvey as its interim CFO. Having joined Sara Lee in 1995, Garvey served in a variety of executive positions for the company. He presently is the company’s senior vice president, global business services and corporate controller.
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A squeeze on skilled talent means it now takes an average of seven weeks to fill open permanent roles in finance in the UK according to new research from financial services recruitment firm Robert Half.