Mattel CEO to retire at year's end

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. — Mattel has announced that Robert A. Eckert, 57, will retire as CEO, after 11 years with the company, effective Dec. 31. The board of directors has named Bryan G. Stockton, 58, who has held the position of chief operating officer for the last year, to succeed Eckert as CEO, effective Jan. 1, 2012. Eckert has agreed to continue in his role as chairman of the board, and the board has elected Stockton as a member of the board, effective January 1, 2012.

“The board respects Bob’s decision to step back at this time, and wants to recognize the superb job he’s done the past 11 years in building a high performance culture at Mattel and delivering truly superior shareholder returns. He leaves behind a remarkable legacy of integrity and success,” said Christopher A. Sinclair, independent presiding director for Mattel. “We’re also grateful that Bob has agreed to serve as non-executive chairman and support Bryan in a seamless transition. Finally, we are delighted to have an experienced and proven leader like Bryan assume the CEO position. He’s been a key architect behind Mattel’s rapid international growth and has also helped to shape many of the company’s recent growth initiatives. We’re confident that he’ll build on Bob’s record of innovation and success.”

In May 2000, Eckert joined Mattel as chairman and chief executive officer from Kraft Foods Inc. Under his leadership of disciplined financial focus, Mattel delivered against its long-term performance targets of delivering growth, building operating margins, and generating and deploying significant cash flow. Through year-end 2010, the company generated $8.2 billion in cash which was used to strengthen the balance sheet and return about $4.6 billion to shareholders in the form of dividends and share repurchases.

“Simply stated, I have loved working at Mattel, and it has been my privilege to work alongside the most talented and dedicated people in the toy business. Our employees have built this company into what it is today. While my decision to retire has not been an easy one, I am confident that we have the momentum in the marketplace and the leadership in place to take the company to the next level,” said Eckert. “Bryan has a proven track record as not only a great operational leader, but also as a seasoned strategist. Under Bryan’s leadership, I am confident that the company will realize its strategic vision to truly create the future of play.”

For the past year, Stockton has served as chief operating officer with responsibility for the day-to-day operations of the company, including its business units: Mattel Brands, Fisher-Price, American Girl, and the North American and International divisions, as well as responsibility for the Operations and Corporate Responsibility functions. He joined Mattel in November 2000 as EVP business planning and development, and was responsible for identifying and developing strategic opportunities for the company, as well as managing all merger and acquisition activity. He gained responsibility for International in 2003 and was promoted to president of International in 2007. 

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