It would be hard to blame shareholders of most companies if they rooted for Jeff Ubben to join their company’s board of Directors. Afterall, since 2001, the co-founder of San Francisco-based hedge fund ValueAct Capital has served on the Board of 21 companies. Two years after he was named a director, the stocks of those companies were up, on average, 9.69 percent compared with a loss of 3.77 percent for the S&P 500, for an outperformance of nearly 14 percentage points, according to calculations made by FactSet SharkWatch.

Last week, Ubben, who typically owns between a dozen and 20 stocks at a time, seemed to work his magic again when Sara Lee announced a major restructuring last week. Unlike activist hedge fund managers such asThirdPoint’s Dan Loeb, who loves to mix it up publicly with management with direct attacks on their character, Ubben prefers to act behind the scenes and help develop a long-term plan to enhance shareholder value.

Sara Lee, where Ubben has served on the board since August 2008, is a good example. The food company said it would split into two separate companies.

Its North American Retail and North American Foodservice businesses (excluding the North American beverage business) will be spun off, tax-free, into a new public company that will retain the “Sara Lee” name. Its brands include Sara Lee, Jimmy Dean, Ball Park, and Hillshire Farm. The new company would have reported about $4.1 billion in revenue in fiscal 2010.

The yet to be named other company will consist of Sara Lee’s current International Beverage and Bakery businesses, as well as the North American beverage business. Its brands will include Douwe Egberts, Senseo, Pickwick, Maison du Café, L’OR, Café Pilão, Marcilla and Bimbo. This entity would have reported about $4.6 billion in revenue in fiscal 2010 using fiscal 2010 actual exchange rates.

The separation is expected to be completed in early calendar year 2012.

Also as part of the plan, the board of directors intends to declare a $3 per share special dividend, the majority of which will be funded with proceeds from the sale of the company’s North American Fresh Bakery business. The special dividend is expected to be declared and paid in fiscal 2012 and before completion of the spin-off of the two companies.