Mattel Names Former Maker Studios Head Ynon Kreiz Its Third CEO in 2 Years

Toy maker Mattel announced on Thursday that media veteran Ynon Kreiz, will be the company’s next CEO.

Kreiz, who has been a member of Mattel’s board since June 2017, will take over for Margo Georgiadis, who took the position in February 2017, but told the board Thursday she’s leaving to pursue a new opportunity in the tech sector.

Kreiz is the former CEO of online video network Maker Studios. He will assume the chief role on April 26, and Georgiadis will stay on in an advisory role through May 10 to ensure a smooth transition, the company said in a press release.

Also Read: Ynon Kreiz to Depart Maker Studios, Succeeded by Strategy Chief Courtney Holt

“I am excited by the opportunity to lead the company towards its next phase of transformation and restore Mattel to a high performing toy company,” Kreiz said in a statement. “While the company has been facing significant challenges, we have achieved constructive progress in many key areas.  I am committed to building on our existing strategy as we continue to aggressively implement our transformation plan.

“I look forward to working together to fulfill Mattel’s long term potential and unlock the full value of its world class IP,” he continued.

Kreiz also thanked Georgiadis for the year she spent at the helm and said he was “impressed” with the team Mattel currently has.

Also Read: Hijab-Wearing Barbie Makes Her Debut

“We have made strong progress in addressing the critical structural challenges facing Mattel, and I know Ynon is committed to building on that progress alongside our talented leadership team,” Georgiadis said in a statement. “It has been a privilege to lead such an iconic company at an important time of change… I am proud of what we accomplished together and confident in Mattel’s path forward.”

Last year Mattel reported that net sales were down 11 percent, while sales in North America were down 17 percent. The company has also been plucking along on its transformation plan, targeting to achieve a greater proportion of $650 million net cost elimination initiative in 2018.

Mattel’s shares have declined more than 12 percent in the year to date.

Kreiz also succeeds Christopher Sinclair, who in June 2017 announced his plan to retire in 2018.

Also Read: Netflix Orders Mattel Animated Series ‘Ever After High’

“Ynon has tremendous expertise across areas critical to our strategy, including digital, media and entertainment, and we have already benefitted from that experience and his compelling vision for the company since he became a director,” Sinclair said in a statement.  “Ynon has excelled at anticipating industry trends and brings an outstanding track record of innovation and success, with over 20 years of experience in the media and entertainment industries, including particularly deep experience in children’s entertainment.”

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Mattel Names Endemol And Maker Studios Alum Ynon Kreiz As New CEO

Ynon Kreiz, known in Hollywood circles for his exec stints at Maker Studios and Endemol Group, has been named CEO of Mattel.
Already a board member of the toymaker and poised to become board chairman pending a shareholder vote on May 17, Kreiz will off…

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Disney Lays Off 80 Employees at Maker Studios, Digital Media Unit

Disney has laid off 80 employees in its digital media unit, which includes multichannel network Maker Studios, as part of a restructuring process that began last year. The firings are the result of redundancies that happened when Disney integrated Maker into its consumer products and digital media division in December.

That division, led by executive vice president Andrew Sugerman, includes Disney’s Oh My Disney and Babble websites and most of its social media assets. Disney also plans to shrink Maker’s talent network, which at one point included 55,000 internet personalities.

“We’re building a digital media network of Disney and non-Disney content for kids and millennials on the platforms they use every day,” Sugerman said in a statement provided to TheWrap. “For advertisers, this network offers mobile, video, short-form content, micro-content, and influencers, all at scale.”

Also Read: Disney’s Maker Studios Cuts Ties With PewDiePie Over Anti-Semitic Videos

The Mouse House acquired Maker in 2014 in a $500 million deal — with up to $450 million more if incentives were met. Maker has failed to meet those targets, receiving only about $200 million.

The multichannel network hosts Internet hits like “Epic Rap Battles of History,” and one of the channel’s subnetworks was (until very recently) home to PewDiePie, a gaming commentator who is behind the world’s most-subscribed YouTube channel. Maker cut ties with PewDiePie after his channel was discovered to contain videos of anti-semitic jokes.

Aside from the PewDiePie fiasco, Maker has hit several speed bumps since the acquisition. Hoped-for synergies with Disney have been slow to take shape, and several executives have departed from the company. Maker also laid off nearly 30 workers last July.

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