Lego aims to rebuild performance with new CEO
The Danish toymaker on Thursday changed chief executives after only eight months. Out goes Bali Padda, a 61-year-old British citizen who was the first foreigner to run Lego. In comes Niels Christiansen, a 51-year-old Dane who is a director of shipping conglomerate AP Moller-Maersk, as well as a former chief executive of Danfoss, the industrial group.
Lego spokesman Roar Rude Trangbaek said that the search for a long-term CEO began as soon as Bali was appointed CEO. The perfect candidate appeared sooner than expected by the board, and that is the reason for the transition now.
Padda, who was the first non-Dane to head Lego will stay on in the Lego Brand Group in a special advisory role.
Lego Brand Group chairman Jorgen Vig Knudstorp said in a statement that Christiansen’s experience in digitalisation and globalisation, implementing a transformative strategy, and creating an agile, high performing, international team will benefit the Lego Group.
Lego posted record revenues in 2016, jumping by six percent from 2015 to 37.9 billion kroner (5 billion euros, $5.2 billion), for a net profit up two percent to 9.4 billion.
Lego’s colourful toy blocks have proved resilient to the rise of digital devices which is battering the traditional toy industry, but the company has also been adept at using different channels to engage with children.
The group has allowed partners to develop branded video games, a Hollywood blockbuster, television shows and theme parks.
The company has grown over the years, but has always remained owned by the family of creator Ole Kirk Kristiansen since its founding in 1932.