Brenda C. Barnes
Brenda Czajka Barnes (November 11, 1953 – January 17, 2017) was an American businesswoman who served as president, chairman and chief executive of Sara Lee, and was the first female CEO at PepsiCo.
Brenda C. Barnes
November 11, 1953
Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
|Died||January 17, 2017 (aged 63)|
Naperville, Illinois, U.S.
|Alma mater||Augustana College|
Loyola University Chicago
|Occupation||CEO of Sara Lee 2005-2010|
Barnes received a BA in Economics in 1975 from Augustana College, and an MBA in 1978 from Loyola University Chicago. In 1997 she was awarded an honorary doctor of humane letters from Augustana College.
After working as a business manager for Wilson Sporting Goods in 1976 and Vice President of Marketing for Frito-Lay in 1981, Barnes became Group VP of Marketing for PepsiCo in 1984. She became President of Pepsi-Cola South/West in 1991, and COO of PepsiCo North America in 1993. Finally, in 1996, she became president and CEO of Pepsi-Cola North America, a job she left in 1997 to spend more time with her family, a move that made national headlines.
After PepsiCo, she spent time as interim president and COO of Starwood, from November 1999 to March 2000, and as an adjunct professor, Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management and at North Central College in 2002.
In July 2004, she became president and COO of Sara Lee Corp. In February 2005, she became president and CEO of Sara Lee, and in October 2005, chairman and CEO. While there, Barnes moved Sara Lee's headquarters out of downtown Chicago to suburban Downers Grove.
Barnes was on the board of directors of Avon Products, Inc.; Augustana College; Grocery Manufacturers Association; LucasFilm, Ltd.; The New York Times Company; PepsiAmericas, Inc.; Sara Lee Corporation; Sears, Roebuck & Co.; and Staples, Inc. She was also on the steering Committee of the Kellogg Center for Executive Women, Northwestern University.
While CEO of Sara Lee in 2008, Barnes earned a total compensation of $10,489,347, which included a base salary of $1,000,000, a cash bonus of $1,993,597, stocks granted of $4,866,000, and options granted of $2,398,668.
Born as Brenda Czajka, she was the third of seven girls and was raised in River Grove, Illinois. She was a smart student and dedicated herself to studying. A graduate from Augustana College even said, "She didn't join a sorority, didn't do cheerleading. She didn't get into that part of college." She was raised by her parents to be humble. Barnes told Shelley Donald Coolidge of the Christian Science Monitor, "My parents gave me a strong work ethic and the ability to listen to people and value what they have to say and do. That base foundation of values helped me tremendously." 
Barnes has two sons and one daughter. She had a stroke in May 2010, at a gym in Chicago, which caused her to leave Sara Lee. In 2012, Barnes was still getting phone calls about potential board openings but turned them down to focus on her health. On January 15, 2017, she suffered another stroke and died two days later. Brenda joined the Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago in 2014 as a distinguished member on the Board of Directors and the Identity Cabinet committee to help form and build the hospital branding and positioning.
Barnes has been listed in Forbes list of The World's 100 Most Powerful Women since 2004, appearing in the top ten in 2005 and 2006. In 2009 she was ranked 29th in Forbes list of The World's 100 Most Powerful Women.
She was inducted as a Laureate of The Lincoln Academy of Illinois and awarded the Order of Lincoln (the state's highest honor) by the Governor of Illinois in 2013 in the area of Business & Industry.
- Tom Roundell. February 11, 2005. "Brenda Barnes." The Times. p.51
- Sara Lee management biography: Brenda Barnes Archived May 17, 2008, at the Wayback Machine
- Shelley Donald Coolidge. October 8, 1997. "Trading 30,000 Staff For 3 Kids." The Christian Science Monitor. Business, p.1.
- "Brenda C. Barnes: Executive Profile & Biography". Bloomberg. Retrieved 2017-01-18.
- 2008 CEO Compensation for Brenda C. Barnes Archived April 14, 2009, at the Wayback Machine, Equilar.com
- reporter, John Schmeltzer, Tribune staff. "Brenda Barnes". chicagotribune.com. Retrieved 2020-03-23.
- "Trading 30,000 Staff For 3 Kids". The Christian Science Monitor. 1997-10-08. ISSN 0882-7729. Retrieved 2020-03-23.
- Sellers, Patricia (October 8, 2012). "The Rehabilitation of Brenda Barnes". Fortune. 166 (6): 125–127. Archived from the original on October 20, 2013.
- "Brenda Barnes, Former Sara Lee and Pepsi Cola CEO Dies at 63". Fortune.com. Retrieved 2017-01-18.
- "In Memoriam - Brenda Barnes, Bill Wardrop - Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago". www.ric.org. Retrieved 2017-02-02.
- "The 100 Most Powerful Women". Forbes.com. 2007-08-30. Retrieved 2008-01-28. (2007 List)
- "The 100 Most Powerful Women". Forbes.com. 2006-08-31. Retrieved 2008-01-28. (2006 List)
- "The Most Powerful Women". Forbes.com. Retrieved 2008-01-28. (2005 List)
- "Most Powerful Women". Forbes.com. Retrieved 2008-01-28. (2004 List)
- "#29 Brenda Barnes". Forbes.com. Retrieved 2017-01-18.
- Brenda C. Barnes on the Lincoln Academy site, 2013