NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Sara Lee (SLE) CEO Marcel Smits has received an 80% total pay increase in his first year as head of the company, according to a recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Smits took over as CEO in January, though he had served as interim chief for eight months prior.

In fiscal 2011 he earned a total of around $5.67 million, including bonuses on top of a base salary of $736,347. In the prior year, when he was CFO and interim CEO, he earned a total of around $3 million, including a base salary of $511,815.

Under the "annual incentive plan," Smits' bonus pay actually fell year-over-year, by around 30%, to $659,218.

Smits' take-home pay bump is not necessarily unwarranted;

Sara Lee is in the process of splitting into two separate companies

.

>> Consumer Stock Takeovers: Deals and Targets

Sara Lee has been selling off some of its business units as it readies to spin off its North American retail and food service business into a company that will have a public listing and retain the Sara Lee name. That business includes brands such as Hillshire Farm lunch meat, Ball Park hot dogs and Jimmy Dean sausages.

The other company, Sara Lee's remaining international bakery and beverages businesses, which includes Douwe Egberts and L'Or brands, is as yet unnamed but referred to as CoffeeCo and could be based overseas.

The announcement that Sara Lee would split into two companies came in January, following unsatisfactory takeover bids, and the transaction is expected to be completed in 2012. In early August,

Sara Lee announced an agreement to sell its refrigerated dough business to Ralcorp Holdings

(RAH)

for $545 million.

Back in May, Sara Lee was also considering selling its international bakery unit. That same month it completed the sale of its global shoe care business to SC Johnson for 245 million euros ($364 million). The sale of the company's insecticides business is expected to close in the second half of 2011.

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Sara Lee also acquired Aidells Sausage for $87 million in cash earlier this year in an effort to boost its meat business in North America and expand its footprint into the market of organic and natural meats.

>> Sara Lee: Slimming Down for Profits

Shares of Sara Lee lost a penny to close Friday at $17.50. The stock is flat for the year, but has lost 13.6% since hitting a 52-week high of $20.26 on Jan. 25.

-- Written by Miriam Marcus Reimer in New York

.


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