Four months after taking over the El Segundo-based toymaker, the CEO of Mattel announced plans Wednesday to streamline the company’s operations to get toys developed and on the market faster, while doing more to capitalize on digital products.
“Our vision is to inspire the wonder of childhood as the global leader in learning and development through play. As we shift our business aggressively in a new strategic direction and transform how we operate, I believe we have the assets to achieve this vision and shape the future of the toy industry, said Margo Georgiadis, CEO of Mattel. “The strength of the underlying Mattel franchise supported by important trends such as a growing global toy market and an increasingly digital, mobile-first world provides an opportunity for Mattel to create significant long-term value for our investors.”
Georgiadis outlined a strategy for the company, building on its core products — American Girl, Barbie, Fisher-Price, Hot Wheels and Thomas & Friends — while reshaping the company’s operation and reallocating resources, with a primary goal of improving “speed to market.” That streamlining process is expected to reduce the time it takes to develop new products from the current 18 months to between six and nine months.
It also hopes to leverage the core products into “connected 360-degree play systems and experiences,” with both physical products and digital offerings.
According to the company, Mattel also plans to invest in emerging markets, such as localizing its products in markets such as China.
“Mattel predicts that its China business can be three to four times bigger by 2020 if well-executed,” according to the company. “In addition, the company has plans to take a similar approach to expand more rapidly in other priority emerging markets, including India and Indonesia.”
Mattel plans to dividend payouts to free up $150 million to $200 million to bankroll the re-engineering of Mattel.
Georgiadis took over as Mattel CEO in February, following stints as chief operations officer at Groupon and then as president, Americas, at Google Inc.
–City News Service