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Friday Aug 11 2017

Lego appoints new CEO after just eight months


Danish toy maker Lego, known for its iconic coloured plastic bricks, said Thursday it had appointed a new chief executive, replacing Briton Bali Padda who held the job for just eight months.

Niels Christiansen, 51, most recently the head of industrial technology company Danfoss, will take over the position on October 1.

Padda, 61, a Lego executive for 14 years, was appointed in December and was always intended to be a temporary boss pending a longer-term replacement, Lego said.

"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," Lego spokesman Roar Rude Trangbaek told AFP.

Padda -- who was the first non-Dane to head Lego -- will stay on in the Lego Brand Group in a special advisory role.

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 Brand Group chairman Jorgen Vig Knudstorp said in a statement.

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.

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