Meet The New MeatCo CEO

Sara Lee(SLE) continues to prepare for the second quarter spin off of their coffee and tea business, leaving behind their North American meats division, a business they are still calling, improbably, MeatCo. While it doesn’t yet have a real name, it does now have a CEO, as the company announced Friday that Sean Connolly, President of Campbell North America(CPB), would be joining Sara Lee on January 17 and would be CEO of MeatCo following the spin of CoffeeTeaCo. Though just 46, Connolly has had significant experience at several large companies in the sector. As his biography on the Campbell’s website states

Sean Connolly was appointed President, Campbell North America, in October 2010. He leads the company’s U.S. Soup business, Sauces and Beverages, Campbell Canada, and North America Foodservice. He reports to Denise Morrison, President and Chief Executive Officer.

Sean joined Campbell in 2002 as Vice President, Food Brands. A year later he was named Vice President and General Manager-Beverages and Latin America/Mexico. Sean and his team developed the V8 V-Fusion product line, a franchise that has since reached more than $200 million in sales. From 2004 through 2006 he was Vice President and General Manager-U.S. Soup.  Under his leadership Campbell’s U.S. Soup business experienced strong sales and profit gains.  During that time, Campbell’s condensed soup sustained a three-year turnaround, and innovation platforms based on sodium reduction and microwavability experienced rapid growth.

From January 2007 to December 2008, Sean was President-North America Foodservice. He led Campbell’s traditional foodservice business as well as the emerging StockPot deli fresh foodservice business. He then was named President, Campbell USA, and led Campbell’s largest business, a $3.7 billion retail portfolio including Campbell’s soups, V8 beverages, and Pace and Prego sauces.

Before joining Campbell, Sean was a long-time employee of Procter & Gamble, where he held brand management leadership positions in the food and beverage business unit.  From 2001 to 2002, Sean was the acting General Manager of the peanut butter and edible oils category, and he led the divestiture of the Jif and Crisco brands to the J.M. Smucker Company.

Sean earned his B.A. degree in economics from Vanderbilt University, and his M.B.A. degree in general management from the University of Texas at Austin. He supports youth sports in his home community and is on the Board of his church.

This spinoff completes what is likely the final step in the deconglomeration of Sara Lee, a firm which once included Hanes Brands(HBI), Coach(COH) and other disparate product lines.

Disclosure: The author owns shares in SLE and HBI

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