Chicago-based branded consumer packaged goods giant Sara Lee Corp announced yesterday [Thursday] that its board of directors has elected L.M. (Theo) de Kool to executive VP of the corporation; Robert S. Kopriva to senior VP of the corporation; and Gregory J. Sykes, N. Robert Utecht and Robert van der Hoek, each to VP of the corporation, effective immediately.

De Kool, who joined Sara Lee in 1990, now has responsibility for the company’s accounting, audit, corporate systems, tax and treasury departments. He will report to C. Steven McMillan, chairman, president and CEO of the group.

Kopriva, promoted to a senior VP of Sara Lee Corp, is president and CEO of Sara Lee Foods US and Mexico. He has been with Sara Lee for more than 20 years, holding a number of management positions of increasing responsibility. Last year, he was named president and CEO of Sara Lee Foods US and elected a VP of the group. In 1996, Kopriva became president and CEO of Sara Lee’s Jimmy Dean Foods division. He will reports to William A. Geoppinger, executive VP of Sara Lee Corp and CEO of Sara Lee Foods.

Sykes, 50, has been named a VP of Sara Lee Corp and was recently appointed president and CEO of Sara Lee Foods – Retail for the company’s US operations.

Utecht, 55, has also been named a VP, and is currently president and CEO of Bryan Foods. Utecht is now responsible for the financial organization of Sara Lee Foods. He joined Sara Lee in 1989 as CFO of the company’s PYA/Monarch Foodservice Division. He has held several positions of increasing responsibility including VP – business planning for Sara Lee Corp and COO of Bryan Foods. Utecht will report to Geoppinger.

Van der Hoek, 47, is promoted to a VP of Sara Lee Corp after serving as CFO of Sara Lee/DE. He is a member of the Board of Management of Sara Lee/DE, responsible for the financial and administrative functions of Sara Lee’s global Coffee & Tea, Household & Body Care, and Direct Selling businesses.

The group’s board of directors also declared yesterday a regular quarterly dividend of US$0.15 per share on the company’s common stock, payable on 1 April, 2002. The dividend is payable to stockholders of record at the close of business 1 March, 2002. This is the 224th consecutive dividend declared by the corporation.