US: Sara Lee chairman and CEO Brenda Barnes is stepping down permanently "to focus on improving her health". Barnes has been on medical leave since May after suffering a stroke. Sara Lee's board has initiated a process to select a new CEO and is looking at both internal and external candidates.

Marcel Smits will continue as interim CEO and Mark Garvey as interim chief financial officer during the process. Independent director James Crown will remain chairman of the board after assuming the role when Barnes took leave.

US meat giant Tyson Foods has reported higher-than-expected quarterly profits thanks in part to higher beef and pork prices and a recovering chicken business. Tyson said third-quarter profits were 89% higher with net income at £158m versus £83m a year earlier.

Revenue rose 10% to £4.7bn. Tyson gave a relatively upbeat outlook despite the industry-wide downturn and shrugged off the potential impact of rising feed prices on the business, instead pointing to a pick-up in export markets in 2011.

"Looking ahead, our operational improvements and lower interest expense will help us finish 2010 in a great position and give us a strong start to 2011," said Tyson president and CEO Donnie Smith.

INDIA: Hypercity Retail has poached ex-M&S Reliance India boss Mark Ashman to become its new CEO. He replaces Andrew Levermore who left the group in 2008 to join Bharti Retail as its chief operating officer. Ashman became CEO of M&S Reliance two years ago when it entered into a joint venture with Reliance Industries, the sub-continent's largest company, and was responsible for the roll-out of M&S's retail strategy in India.

DENMARK: Unilever has signed an agreement to acquire the Danish operations of Diplom-Is for an undisclosed sum. Diplom-Is is a Norwegian ice-cream maker, owned by the dairy group Tine and operates in Norway, Sweden and Denmark.

The deal will see 30 employees and five local depots in Denmark transfer across to Unilever as of 30 September. Unilever hopes to capitalise on the ice-cream maker's stronghold in the region, particularly in the out-of-home segment through amusement parks and ice cream bars.

GUATEMALA: Nestlé has agreed to buy a majority stake in Guatemalan food and powdered-beverage maker Malher, its second acquisition in two weeks. Malher makes culinary products and powdered beverages under the Malher, Yus and Toki brands. It owns two factories and four depots and has over 1,300 employees, who will join Nestlé's 3,500 staff and six factories in the region.

Financial details of the agreeement, which is subject to regulatory approval, were not disclosed. Last week Nestlé completed the acquisition of Vitaflo, a Liverpool-based global provider of clinical nutritional products for people with metabolic disorders.