Brenda C. Barnes

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Brenda C. Barnes
Alma mater Augustana College
Loyola University Chicago
Occupation CEO of Sara Lee 2005-2010

Brenda C. Barnes is the former president, chairman and chief executive of Sara Lee, and previously was the first female CEO at PepsiCo.[1]


After working as a business manager for Wilson Sporting Goods in 1976[2] and Vice President of Marketing for Frito-Lay in 1981, Barnes became Group VP of Marketing for PepsiCo in 1984.[2] She became President of Pepsi-Cola South/West in 1991, and COO of PepsiCo North America in 1993. Finally, in 1996, she became president and CEO of Pepsi-Cola North America in 1996, a job she left in 1997 to spend more time with her family, a move that made national headlines.[1][2]

After PepsiCo, she spent time as Interim President and COO of Starwood Hotels & Resorts, from Nov 1999 - Mar 2000, and as an Adjunct Professor, Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management and at North Central College in 2002.

In July 2004, she became President and COO of Sara Lee Corp.. In February 2005, she became President and CEO of Sara Lee, and in October 2005, Chairman and CEO. While there, Barnes moved Sara Lee's headquarters out of downtown Chicago to suburban Downers Grove.

Barnes is or has been on the board of directors of Avon Products, Inc., Augustana College, Grocery Manufacturers Association, LucasFilm, Ltd., The New York Times Company, PepsiAmericas, Inc., Sara Lee Corporation, Sears, Roebuck & Co., Staples, Inc.. She has also been on the steering Committee of the Kellogg Center for Executive Women, Northwestern University.[3]

While CEO of Sara Lee in 2008, Brenda C. Barnes earned a total compensation of $10,489,347, which included a base salary of $1,000,000, a cash bonus of $1,993,597, stocks granted of $4,866,000, and options granted of $2,398,668.[4]


Barnes received a BA in Economics in 1975 from Augustana College (Illinois), and an MBA in 1978 from Loyola University Chicago. In 1997 she was awarded an honorary doctor of humane letters from Augustana College.[3]

Personal life[edit]

Barnes has two sons and one daughter. She had a stroke in May 2010,[5] at a gym in Chicago,[5] which caused her to leave Sara Lee.[1][2] In 2012 Brenda was still getting phone calls about potential board openings but turned them down to focus on her health.[5]


Brenda has been listed in Forbes list of The World's 100 Most Powerful Women since 2004, appearing in the top ten in 2005 and 2006.[6] [7] [8] [9] In 2009 she was ranked 29th in Forbes list of The World's 100 Most Powerful Women.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c Tom Roundell. February 11, 2005. "Brenda Barnes." The Times. p.51
  2. ^ a b c d Shelley Donald Coolidge. October 8, 1997. "Trading 30,000 Staff For 3 Kids." Christian Science Monitor. Business, p.1.
  3. ^ a b Sara Lee management biography: Brenda Barnes
  4. ^ 2008 CEO Compensation for Brenda C. Barnes,
  5. ^ a b c Sellers, Patricia (October 8, 2012). "The Rehabilitation of Brenda Barnes". Fortune 166 (6): 125–127. 
  6. ^ "The 100 Most Powerful Women". 2007-08-30. Retrieved 2008-01-28.  (2007 List)
  7. ^ "The 100 Most Powerful Women". 2006-08-31. Retrieved 2008-01-28.  (2006 List)
  8. ^ "The Most Powerful Women". Retrieved 2008-01-28.  (2005 List)
  9. ^ "Most Powerful Women". Retrieved 2008-01-28.  (2004 List)

External links[edit]