Mattel CEO Replaced in Effort to ‘Revitalize’ the Toy Maker

LOS ANGELES (Los Angeles Times/TNS) -

Struggling toy maker Mattel Inc. said Bryan Stockton had resigned as chief executive and chairman amid disappointing preliminary fourth-quarter results.

The El Segundo, Calif., company said Monday that Christopher Sinclair, who has served as a board member since 1996, was immediately taking over as chairman and interim CEO.

“The board believes that it is the right time for new leadership to maximize its potential,” Sinclair said in a statement.

Sinclair said Mattel will work to “revitalize” its business and also to find the right leadership in coming months.

The toy company has been struggling to connect with parents and children over the past year. Its classic mainstays such as the Fisher-Price line of infant and toddler toys are struggling, resulting in four straight quarters of revenue declines. Last September, Mattel lost its long-held title as the world’s biggest toy company to Danish rival Lego.

Stockton acknowledged in an interview in November that the company needed a strategic revamp, but he said he was optimistic about the year-end shopping season.

“This is a challenging business,” he said at the time.

Stockton joined Mattel in 2000 as executive vice president of business planning and development, and took over as CEO in 2012 after longtime chief executive Robert Eckert stepped down.

Observers have said that Mattel suffers from a lack of innovation in an industry that thrives on churning out the next hot toy or gadget. Going into the year-end shopping season, analysts had predicted that the company may be hampered by a lack of toys with buzz — a big problem at a time when parents are splurging on gifts for their children.

The company said its preliminary fourth-quarter net income was $149.9 million, or 44 cents a share. Analysts had predicted earnings of 91 cents a share, according to FactSet.

In regular trading Monday, Mattel shares dropped $1.40, or 5 percent, to $26.64. In aftermarket trading, the shares dropped another 3 cents to $26.61.