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Lego returns to Danish roots with sudden CEO switch

Thursday, August 10, 2017 - 01:26

Lego has abruptly removed its chief executive Bali Padda after just eight months, replacing the 61-year-old Briton with a younger Danish industrialist in a battle to become the world's biggest toymaker. Sonia Legg reports.

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His appointment last December made headlines around the world - the first Lego CEO who was not home grown. Bali Padda is British - all previous bosses had been Danish. After he took up the post he told Reuters he had a mission. (SOUNDBITE) (English) BALI PADDA, CHIEF OPERATIONS OFFICER, LEGO, SAYING: "We've very fortunate that we are a single brand company, it's all based around the brick, that is what the whole thing is about, how do we get the brick inside the hands of many, many more children to inspire and develop the builders of tomorrow." His replacement will be Neils Christiansen. He was CEO of energy firm Danfoss until earlier this year and at 51 is 10 years younger than Padda. He also has a track record for increasing sales by focussing on digitalisation. Lego hopes to revive its flagging growth in the similar way, particularly in Asia. Last year expansion slowed from 25 percent in 2015 to six percent, with sales of $6 billion. Lego had flirted with bankruptcy in 2000. And Jorgen Knudstrop ran the family firm for a decade before Padda took over. He's now Chairman and says he started looking for a younger successor to Padda immediately after his appointment. He admitted the transition had come faster than expected. But when Christiansen stepped down at Danfoss he saw his chance. He sees him as a man who already has the building blocks needed to get revive growth.

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Lego returns to Danish roots with sudden CEO switch

Thursday, August 10, 2017 - 01:26