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Heineken executive to lead Sara Lee’s CoffeeCo

Sara Lee International Beverage business coffee CoffeeCoSara Lee Corp. announced on 30 August that it has appointed Michiel Herkemij as Executive Vice President and Chief Executive Officer of its International Beverage business. He will also serve as chief executive officer of ‘CoffeeCo’ once it is spun-off from Sara Lee Corp. in the first half of calendar 2012.

Herkemij, 47, joins Sara Lee from Heineken N.V., one of the world’s leading beer companies, where he serves as President and Chief executive Officer of Cuauhtémoc Moctezuma – a leading beer manufacturer in Mexico with six breweries and 18,000 employees, acquired by Heineken in 2010. He will start at Sara Lee by 1 December of this year.

Previously, he was chief executive officer of Heineken’s Nigerian subsidiary, a publicly-listed company. Prior to Heineken, he held multiple managerial positions with Royal Friesland Campina N.V., a leading dairy company, where he worked in the Benelux region, China and Nigeria. Herkemij began his business career with British American Tobacco in the UK and Iberia (Spain & Portugal) and ABN AMRO Bank N.V.

Jan Bennink, Sara Lee Corp.’s Executive Chairman, said that 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,” says 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 in Asia, Africa, South America and Europe, his proven ability to manage top-performing teams, and his very strong marketing and sales background.”  

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. 

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