Sara Lee unit to be based in Oakbrook Terrace

on May23
by | Comments Off on Sara Lee unit to be based in Oakbrook Terrace |

2018-07-30 14:37:29

Nearly two months after Tyson Foods announced it was selling its Sara Lee Frozen Bakery business to a private equity firm, the new Sara Lee entity today said it will establish headquarters in Oakbrook Terrace and has appointed Craig Bahner CEO. It also plans to build a new research and development facility and test kitchen in Oakbrook Terrace.

In June, Tyson said it would sell Sara Lee Frozen Bakery and the Van’s line of waffles, pancakes and cereal—two brands it acquired when it purchased Chicago-based Hillshire Brands, a spinoff of Sara Lee, in 2014—to Kohlberg, a well-known middle-market private-equity shop based in Mount Kisco, N.Y. The decision came as Tyson, the largest meatpacker in the U.S., focuses its business on meat and high-protein snacks.

Kohlberg, which will assume ownership of the brands today, said the new Sara Lee Frozen Bakery office will recruit as many as 80 people in senior roles related to sales and marketing, research and development, finance, HR and supply chain. The new company will employ about 1,300 people at headquarters and at plants in Traverse City, Mich., and Tarboro, N.C., outside Raleigh-Durham. In addition to the Sara Lee and Van’s product lines, the new company will also operate the Chef Pierre and Bistro Collection brands.

Bahner, who was most recently CEO of Kellogg’s Morning Foods, a $2.8 billion line of cereal and toaster pastries, is also a past chief marketing officer of Wendy’s. He spent the first two decades of his career at Procter & Gamble.

“Moving the frozen bakery products into a standalone company . . . will enable us to continue delivering quality products while accelerating growth, increasing innovation and achieving operational excellence,” he said in a statement.

Earlier this month, another East Coast private-equity firm announced plans to buy the Pillsbury brand and other baking products from J.M. Smucker and establish a new headquarters in Chicago.



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