Following CEO Bryan Stockton in January and Geoff Massingberd in June, Tim Kilpin is the third major executive to leave Mattel in 2015. Kilpin has been with the company for 30 years, but will no longer be part of the company that owns Barbie and Mega Brands.
7th straight onerous quarter
Barbie is not doing well: the tall-legged toy icon with the golden hair has had to accept declining sales for the past four years as even its high-tech talking version failed to turn the tide: sales slumped another 16 % over the past six months.
That has in turn also affected its parent company Mattel: the American toy giant's turnover has dropped for seven straight quarters, down 6 % in the latest one. The company had already let go CEO Bryan Stockton in January, after two hugely disappointing holiday sales periods, but that sacrifice could not reverse the trend.
This new blow was the final straw for the man who led all commercial operations at Mattel, Tim Kiplin. He was tipped to become Stockton's successor in January, but the board landed on Christopher Sinclair, while Kiplin became the Chief Commercial Officer before being "downgraded" to head of the less important Toy Box department. According to a securities filing, Kilpin will stay until November.
Kilpin is the third high-profile departure at Mattel in 2015, following in the footsteps of Geoff Massingberd in June (who headed the Mega Brands department) and CEO Bryan Stockton. Mattel had just acquired the building blocks company, a major competitor for Danish Lego, last year, but the investment seems to lack a financial punch.
Profit more important than creativity?
The Wall Street Journal features several former and current directors at Mattel saying that the company's creative department is more "focused on profit than on inventing new toys".
That is why the current CEO, Sinclair, aims to strike deals with technology companies like Google, in an attempt to create toys faster. He will also cut costs. "In the second quarter, we made solid progress as we work to return Mattel to improved growth and profitability", he said as part of the published second quarter results.