Ex-Sara Lee Executive to Land $2.5 Million in Leaving Firm

By Kate MacArthur

Sep. 26, 2011

Former Sara Lee North America CEO C.J. Fraleigh could receive more than $2.5 million as part of a separation agreement he signed with the company, according to a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

As part of the deal, Fraleigh, who also was executive vice president of Sara Lee Corp., will continue to consult with the company as an employee, although he is no longer an officer of the Downers Grove, Illinois-based foodmaker.

Fraleigh resigned on Sept. 9 to pursue other opportunities after the board made an about-face on his leading the North American retail business after the company splits its into two early next year.

“We now believe that a different approach is needed to transition the North American business into a pure-play company,” said Sara Lee Executive Chairman Jan Bennink, in a statement at the time.

According to the filing, Fraleigh will continue to receive a pro-rated amount of his most recent annual base salary of $597,000 through his termination date of Jan. 13, 2012. He also will receive severance of $2 million over 21 months, which is the equivalent of his annual salary plus 75 percent of his bonus target for fiscal 2012 ending June 30. He also will receive a pro-rated portion of his annual bonus for 2012.

When the company spins off its international coffee and tea business early next year, Fraleigh’s unvested equity as of Jan. 13 will vest, per the agreement.

His total payout could exceed $11 million, according to an analysis for the Wall Street Journal, which first reported the deal.

Kate MacArthur writes for Crain’s Chicago Business, a sister publication of Workforce Management. To comment, e-mail

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