DOWNERS GROVE, Ill. -- Sara Lee Corp. announced Tuesday that it has appointed Michiel Herkemij as executive vice president and chief executive officer of its International Beverage business. He will also serve as CEO of the yet-to-be-named 'CoffeeCo' once it is spun-off from Sara Lee Corp. in the first half of calendar 2012.
Herkemij will start his new duties no later than Dec. 1, 2011.
Herkemij, 47, joins Sara Lee from Heineken N.V., one of the world's leading beer companies. He currently serves as president and CEO of Cuauhtémoc Moctezuma, a leading beer manufacturer in Mexico with six breweries and 18,000 employees, acquired by Heineken in 2010.
Previously, he was CEO of Heineken's Nigerian subsidiary.
Jan Bennink, Sara Lee Corp.'s executive chairman, said the board selected Herkemij based on his track record of leading complex international organizations, his breadth of experience across multiple consumer goods businesses and his unique perspective, as well as his strong executive and personal qualities.
"We are very excited to have Michiel serve as the leader of our 'CoffeeCo' business," said Bennink. "He is the right leader to bring 'CoffeeCo' to new heights and unleash the company’s true potential due to his extensive international experience, … his proven ability to manage top-performing teams, and his very strong marketing and sales background."
"I believe the CoffeeCo business, with its premier brands and thousands of professionals, is a strong business with tremendous potential," said Herkemij. "I look forward to working with this great coffee and tea team as, together, we build the global agenda for the future and work to create great value for our stockholders."
Herkemij succeeds Frank van Oers, a 16-year company veteran who has been heading the International Beverage and Bakery segment since 2005. Van Oers, 52, will leave Sara Lee Corporation in early calendar year 2012.
The portfolio of Downers Grove, Ill.-based Sara Lee includes Ball Park, Douwe Egberts, Hillshire Farm, Jimmy Dean, Sara Lee and Senseo.