Sara Lee Taps Heritage in Naming New Coffee & Tea Company

AMSTERDAM, The Netherlands

Sara Lee embraced the storied past of Douwe Egberts in naming its new  international coffee and tea business D.E. Master Blenders 1753.

"D.E Master Blenders 1753 expresses what we have become as an organization, as well as what we aspire to be — the best blenders in the world — transcending the boundaries of traditional companies and bringing innovations that enhance and improve the way the world enjoys coffee and tea," the newly formed company’s CEO Michiel Herkemij said in a reslease.

The company is a spinoff from Sara Lee that will begin operations in June. The multi-billion venture operates in Europe, Brazil, Australia and Thailand. Brands include Pickwick Tea, Douwe Egberts, Senseo and L'OR EspressO along with newly acquired Tea Forte.

Chief Marketing Officer Ingrid Baron spent six months reviewing thousands of candidate names, according to the release. She said the company will launch "an aggressive global campaign that will reinforce our marketplace positioning and introduce the new company to our customers, recruits and the public at large," when the spin off is complete.

The Chicago Tribune reports three other key officers were named: Eugenio Minvielle will serve as COO of the company's developed markets and Harm-Van Pelt will fill the role in the rest of the world, defined as Eastern Europe, Australasia and Latin America.

Minvielle, 47, was previously CEO of Unilever North America. Prior to that, he served as president and CEO of Nestlé in France, Mexico and Venezuela.

Sara Lee is valued at $13 billion with combined North American operations valued at $6.5 billion. Remaining U.S. Coffee & Tea company holdings will become a subsidiary of the Dutch public parent and a holding company for the Coffee and Tea operations.

The Coffee & Tea business will move its headquarters from Utrecht to Amsterdam in the second half of 2012. Bennink said Amsterdam was chosen due to its central location and accessibility to an international labor market.

Sources: Chicago Tribune, Consumer Goods Technology, Bloomberg, Seeking Alpha

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