Sara Lee CFO Theo de Kool is to retire from the US food group in June after 18 years at the company.

De Kool joined Sara Lee in 1990 as vice president of finance for the household and personal care division of the Dutch subsidiary Sara Lee/DE.

In 1995, de Kool was named CFO of the subsidiary and a year later became vice president of Sara Lee Corp.

In 2002, de Kool became executive vice president and the group's CFO and has held his current position since 2005.

"It's been a pleasure to work side-by-side with Theo over the past several years and I am
enormously thankful for his many contributions," said Sara Lee chairman and CEO Brenda Barnes.

The company said yesterday (18 December) that it had started it search for a successor to de Kool.