Danish toymaker Lego is to appoint its first foreign CEO and give its family owners a bigger role in developing the Lego brand. As Sonia Legg reports, it's all part of an organisational shake-up that will see incumbent Jorgen Vig Knudstorp step down by the end of the year.
It'll be on many Christmas lists this year and Lego wants it to stay there. The Danish toymaker came close to bankruptcy in 2003 and doesn't want to go there again. There's not much chance at the moment - the company's turnaround has been impressive. But an organisational shake-up is being implemented. Jorgen Vig Knudstorp will step down at the end of the year. He's been CEO since 2004 and was the first chief from outside the Kristiansen clan, Denmark's richest family. (SOUNDBITE) (English) LEGO CEO, JØRGEN VIG KNUDSTORP, SAYING: "The company has quadrupled in size and our strategy is one of purely organic growth." His replacement is a first too. Bali Padda - currently chief operations officer - is British. All previous bosses have been Danish. Knudstorp isn't taking a back seat though. He's heading up the company's Lego Brand Group, a new focus for the owner family. Lego is now vying with Barbie doll maker Mattel to become the world's biggest toymaker. It's push into movie franchises, video games and smartphone applications is helping. And its revenues have been building - last year they were $5.2 billion.