Sara Lee Corporation’s chairman and chief executive officer Brenda Barnes has noted the tremendous amount of work completed since the company began its five-year transformation plan in February 2005.

The company held a meeting yesterday (18 September), featuring several members of Sara Lee’s senior management team, who discussed the core strategies of each subsidiary.

Barnes said: “In less than two years, we have made significant progress in transforming Sara Lee into a company focused on building strong brands in the food, beverage, and household and body care categories […] delivering long-term consistent value to our shareholders.

“We have exited non-core businesses, including the successful spin-off of Hanesbrands earlier this month, aggressively improved operating effectiveness across all major functions of the company, strengthened our management team, driven new product innovation and continued to evolve our culture. We look forward to building upon that success in fiscal year 2007 and beyond.”

Sara Lee chief financial and administrative officer Theo de Kool announced that the company expects cash from operations to be between US$400m and $500m for fiscal 2007, and said that transformation costs and benefits are tracking in line with or better than company plans and that Sara Lee will continue to return significant value to shareholders in fiscal 2007 by delivering a healthy $370m dividend payout.