DOWNERS GROVE, ILL. — Sara Lee Corp. has announced the medical leave of Brenda Barnes, chairman and chief executive officer, is due to a stroke she suffered a few weeks ago.

“I know there has been a lot of speculation on my condition, so I want to take the opportunity to provide some details,” Ms. Barnes said. “I suffered a stroke a few weeks ago, and I am now in the process of recuperating.”

The company said it intends to provide an update on her condition and her future plans by the end-of-the year earnings call on Aug. 12.

“I am pleased to see how effectively our interim team is performing in executing our ongoing strategy and moving the company forward during my absence,” Ms. Barnes said. “I am fully confident in this team and grateful for their expertise and leadership during this time and also want to thank everyone for their thoughts and support during my absence. It’s truly appreciated.”