It is important to have a good businessperson at the helm but it is, at least at a toy company, as important to have one who feels the joy of play and who loves his or her company's products. Bob Eckert was CEO at the time and no one will dispute that he was a Fortune 500 player. There is a telling moment in the book, however, when during the trial he was given an MGA doll and a Mattel doll. He seemed unfamiliar with the products and had difficulty determining which company made which doll. How can you have a vision for your company if you don't intimately know your product.
It was with this in mind that I mentally applauded the decision by CEO Margot Georgiadis and COO Richard Dickson to get closer to the company's brands and products. The brand manager for American Girl will report directly to Ms. Georgiadis.
The brand managers for Barbie, Hot Wheels, and Fisher-Price will now report directly to Mr. Dickson. Previously they had reported to the Chief Brand Manager.Juliana Chugg, who will now move to an advisory position, reporting to Ms. Georgiadis.
Toys are not commodities but are each unique in their own way. Brands need to be loved and nourished. This restructuring means that those in the highest positions will be personally invested and connected to the company's products. Good for Mattel. Great for the toy industry.