LEGO gets new CEO for second time in 8 months

By Eric DuVall  |  Aug. 10, 2017 at 11:08 AM
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Aug. 10 (UPI) -- Toy-maker LEGO named a new CEO Thursday for the second time in eight months, the company announced.

The family-owned company announced it's replacing Bali Padda with Niels B. Christiansen, former CEO of the Danish industrial group Danfoss A/S. Padda was named LEGO's chief executive in January after his predecessor, Jorgen Vig Knudstorp, became company chairman.

The company said Thursday that Padda, 61, was not intended to fill the CEO role for an extended amount of time due to his age.

Christiansen will take over as CEO on Oct. 1.

Knudstorp said the plan to replace Padda quickly gained steam after Christiansen left his former company and approached Lego with interest in the job.

"One of my central responsibilities in my new capacity was thinking about succession," he said.

During his time at Danfoss, Christiansen was credited with giving the international company a larger digital focus.

Prior to this decade, Lego had enjoyed years of double-digit growth. Though it set a record for sales last year, at $5.38 billion, its year-over-year growth slowed to 6 percent as the company struggled to compete for children's attention with smartphone apps and video games -- particularly in the United States, where sales were flat last year.

LEGO, with 18,500 employees worldwide, has been locked in a years-long battle with rival Mattel to be the world's largest toy company. Mattel nudged out LEGO with $5.46 billion in sales last year.

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