Sara Lee

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Sara Lee Corporation, based in Downers Grove, Illinois, U.S., is a food and beverage company selling internationally. Known for its frozen cheesecakes, it also makes, for example, Earth Grains bread, Senseo coffee, and Ball Park, Hillshire Farms, and Jimmy Dean meats. It also makes body care products but is no longer in the clothing business. Sara Lee also sells to restaurants and cafeterias such as in schools and hospitals. [1] [2]

Ties to the American Legislative Exchange Council

Sara Lee Corporation has been a corporate funder of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC).[3] See ALEC Corporations for more.

About ALEC
ALEC is a corporate bill mill. It is not just a lobby or a front group; it is much more powerful than that. Through ALEC, corporations hand state legislators their wishlists to benefit their bottom line. Corporations fund almost all of ALEC's operations. They pay for a seat on ALEC task forces where corporate lobbyists and special interest reps vote with elected officials to approve “model” bills. Learn more at the Center for Media and Democracy's, and check out breaking news on our site.

Food Companies Face U.S. Probe Over Iraq Deals

In 2007, Sara Lee, along with other U.S. food companies such as ConAgra, came under federal investigation for possible fraud and corruption in the selling of food for personnel in the Iraq war. Both the Justice Department and Defense Department investigators are looking into whether excessively high prices were charged. The food companies hire former U.S. military procurement officials as consultants and executives. [4]


Sara Lee spent $208,000 for lobbying in 2006. KPMG and The Duberstein Group lobbying firms were used. [5]


Key executives and 2007 pay: [6]

Selected members of the Board of Directors: [10]

  • Brenda C. Barnes : Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Director since 2004
  • Christopher B. Begley : Chairman of the Board & Chief Executive Officer, Hospira, Inc., Director since 2006
  • Virgis W. Colbert : Retired Executive Vice President, Miller Brewing Company, Director since 2006
  • James S. Crown : President, Henry Crown and Company, Director since 1998; Serves on the boards of General Dynamics Corporation and JPMorgan Chase
  • Laurette T. Koellner : President, Boeing International, Director since 2003; Senior Vice President of The Boeing Company, was business manager for the Tomahawk Cruise Missile Program
  • Cees J.A. van Lede : Former Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, Akzo Nobel N.V., Director since 2002
  • Ian Prosser : Retired Chairman, InterContinental Hotels Group plc, Director since 2004
  • Rozanne L. Ridgway : Former Assistant Secretary of State for European and Canadian Affairs, Director since 1992; Director of The Boeing Company, Manpower, Inc., 3M Company
  • Norman R. Sorensen : Chief Executive Officer, Principal International, Inc, Director since 2007
  • Jeffrey W. Ubben : Chief Executive Officer and Chief Investment Officer, ValueAct Capital, Director since 2008
  • Jonathan P. Ward : Chairman, Chicago Office & Managing Director, Investment Banking, Lazard Ltd., Director since 2005

Contact details

3500 Lacey Road
Downers Grove, IL 60515
Phone: 630-598-8100
Fax: 630-598-8482


Related SourceWatch articles


  1. Sara Lee Profile, Hoovers, accessed December 2007.
  2. Brands, Sara Lee, accessed December 2007.
  3. Defenders of Wildlife, Natural Resources Defense Council, “Corporations and Trades Associations that Fund ALEC”, Corporate America’s Trojan Horse in the States: The Untold Story Behind the American Legislative Exchange Council, online report, 2003
  4. Glen R. Simpson, "Food Companies Face U.S. Probe Over Iraq Deals", Wall Street Journal/CorpWatch, October 16, 2007.
  5. Sara Lee lobbying expenses, Open Secrets, accessed December 2007.
  6. Management Team, Sara Lee, accessed December 2007.
  7. Brenda C Barnes, Forbes, accessed December 2007.
  8. Christopher J Fraleigh, Forbes, accessed December 2007.
  9. Roderick A Palmore, Forbes, accessed December 2007.
  10. Board of Directors, Sara Lee, accessed October 2008.

External resources