Monday, August 9, 2010

Get well soon Brenda Barnes

The news came out yesterday that Brenda Barnes was stepping down as Chairman and CEO of Sara Lee. She's stepping down on medical grounds; she had suffered a stroke in May. May we wish her a speedy recovery.

I had posted sometime ago on The "Different" Brenda Barnes. She's a great role model for women who take a career break to raise children and come back successfully to top management. She's one of the best examples of women juggling career and home in a balanced way. Many successful career women choose to focus almost exclusively on their career. Brenda Barnes is different. She stepped off and stepped back again. Successfully.

Her stint at Sara Lee was a mixed bag. She restructured the company and focused it as a foods company, selling of bits and pieces. She certainly  developed a strong management team - the interim CEO is a person some readers of this blog will recognise from past association. But shareholders did not see success in the share price. Nevertheless her tenure was a successful one.

We don't know the details of her medical condition and we should, of course, respect her privacy. I just hope this was not caused by the difficult demands of juggling work and home. She may herself not want to be described as a role model for women, but at least in my mind, she is. From what little I know, I have admired her ability to be so successful after taking a career break to raise her family. But were the demands too much on her ??

Click here to read her letter to Sara Lee employees.

Whatever be the circumstances, we can only wish her well and a very speedy recovery. May she quickly bounce back to the Brenda Barnes of  old.

Meanwhile, to all ye women, who are doing the incredibly difficult juggling act. A salute, but just take care yourself . OK ?  Not meaning to scare anybody, but please take care.