Lego replaces long-time
CEO with first foreign boss in organizational shake-up
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[December 06, 2016]
By Jacob Gronholt-Pedersen and Teis Jensen
(Reuters) - Danish toymaker Lego is to appoint its first foreign CEO and
give its family owners a bigger role in developing the Lego brand under
an organizational shake-up that will see incumbent Jorgen Vig Knudstorp
step down by the end of the year.
Briton Bali Padda, currently chief operations officer, will replace
Knudstorp, who was the first chief executive from outside the
Kristiansen clan, Denmark's richest family. He has led the company
through a turnaround since his appointment in 2004, a year after the
company flirted with bankruptcy.
Knudstorp will head up the company's new Lego Brand Group, while the
owner family will become active in brand-related activities, including
the group's stake in Merlin Entertainments, operator of the Legoland
theme parks, and in Lego Education used in schools.
Lego, with revenues of 35.8 billion Danish crowns ($5.2 billion) last
year, is vying with Barbie doll maker Mattel to become the world's
biggest toymaker, helped by its push into movie franchises, video games
and smartphone applications.
The company said its new brand group will help it reap "untapped
potential in the LEGO brand."
"With our recent growth and globalization come new and exciting
opportunities for the brand, and we establish the LEGO Brand Group to
look into these new opportunities," says Thomas Kirk Kristiansen, fourth
generation owner of the LEGO Group.
[to top of second column]
Jorgen Vig Knudstorp, CEO of Lego group, poses after the toy
company's annual results news conference at it's headquarters in
Billund, Denmark March 1, 2016. REUTERS/Fabian Bimmer
extrovert, quirky CEO Knudstorp, Lego overtook My Little Pony producer Hasbro to
become the world's second-largest toy company.
After taking over in 2004, he set about reviving Lego's core business, by firing
consultants and hiring new designers to come up with higher-margin products that
were up to date but still looked like Lego, an abbreviation of the Danish "leg
godt", meaning "play well".
(Reporting by Jacob Gronholt-Pedersen and Teis Jensen; Editing by Susan Fenton)
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