INTERNATIONAL NEWS: Insiders say Sara Lee PR takes the cake

CHICAGO: Sara Lee has fired two of its most senior PR and IR

staffers as part of major corporate-headquarters staff cuts.

Theresa Herlevsen, EVP of corporate communications, and William Parke,

director of financial communications, are among those being let go,

sources said.

Sara Lee CEO Steven McMillan has been cutting staff throughout the

company, trying to focus on its core businesses. The company recently

lowered its projections for fiscal 2002 earnings.

Corporate communications staffers are now expected to report to Randy

White, who has handled public affairs and Washington work for Sara Lee

in the past.

A Sara Lee spokesperson would not confirm the departures, saying the

company wouldn't comment on specifics of recent staff reductions. It

announced layoffs were effective July 1, but some expect Parke to remain

on board until finishing the company's annual report this fall.

Parke joined Sara Lee in 1999 after being laid off in a similar

cost-cutting move at Sears Roebuck, where he was director of financial


He's the current president of the Chicago chapter of the National

Investor Relations Institute, and is well respected among Chicago IR


"If there's anything out there in the IR field, Bill will find it," said

an associate of Parke's. Neither Parke nor Herlevsen returned requests

for comment.

Herlevsen joined Sara Lee in 1992 after working for Quaker Oats and

Fleishman-Hillard. She received some criticism among PR people for not

being more proactive during a major meat recall Sara Lee faced in 1998,

but was promoted to a corporate office in 1999.

She reported to Janet E. Bergman, VP of IR and corporate affairs.

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