Mattel Inc. said Thursday that Ynon Kreiz a member of the board and an executive in digital media would replace CEO Margaret Georgiadis, who is resigning after just 14 months in charge of the maker of Barbie dolls and Hot Wheels.
Mattel, whose stock has lost close to half its value during the last 12 months under the tenure of Georgiadis, has faced weak demand worldwide for its toys during a time when children have shifted to playing video games.
Mattel’s top client toy retailer Toys R Us filed bankruptcy and has started liquidation, which put even more pressure on the toy maker.
Kreiz formerly headed Maker Studio a digital media business that assembled a group of stars from YouTube and was then acquired by Walt Disney.
His appointment as Mattel’s CEO will become effective on April 26, and will help Mattel to shift focus toward the use of entertainment as a way to increase revenue and brand equity, said an industry analyst.
The analyst added that it appeared the board at Mattel was betting Kreiz, with a history in the entertainment world, can turn the company around.
Georgiadis, who was a technology executive for Google when hired by Mattel, was chosen to modernize Mattel and her departure has caught many by surprise.
On trade magazine editor believes that the tech experience brought to Mattel by Georgiadis was not working out.
Under the leadership of Georgiadis, Mattel increased its effort to lower costs, replaced Kevin Farr the veteran financial chief and suspended the company’s dividend.
Until the 10th of May, Georgiadis will remain at Mattel in an advisory role, after which time she will take the role of CEO with Ancestry.com the genealogy website.
Soon to be CEO Kreiz, who was previously the CEO and chairman of Endemol Group, the television production company, said that in the new role he is taking on as CEO of Mattel he would be making more use of Mattel’s IP that includes brands such as Fisher-Price and American Girl.
He will become the board’s chairman after being elected at the shareholder’s meeting on May 17, said Mattel.
Mattel will release its results from the first quarter April 26, and Georgiadis will take part in the company conference call with analysts and investors.
Shares at Mattel closed down Thursday by 3.2% and in extended trading increased by 1%.