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Sara Lee CEO stepping down for good following stroke

DOWNERS GROVE, Ill. — Sara Lee says CEO Brenda Barnes will step down permanently from her position as chairman and chief executive officer.

Barnes had been on temporary medical leave since May 14 after suffering a stroke. The company says the 56-year-old is leaving the post to continue focusing on improving her health.

She’s also leaving her position on Sara Lee Corp.’s board of directors. Marcel Smits, who has been handling the CEO duties in her place will continue to do so until a new CEO is named.

The food maker, based in Downers Grove, Ill., says its board has started a process to select a new CEO and is looking inside and outside of the company.

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