LEGO is shaking up their box of bricks and appointing a new toymaker in chief.
Long credited as the man who saved LEGO in 2004, CEO Jørgen Vig Knudstorp will be replaced by Bali Padda, LEGO’s current chief operations officer, on January 1. Padda is British and will be the first non-Dane to lead the company. He has been with LEGO 14 years, starting in Enfield, Connecticut, and has in the past mentioned his desire for greater market expansion throughout the world, focusing on Asia.
Bali Padda will become the new CEO Jan. 1
Before you think that Knudstorp is off to take a well-deserved vacation, LEGO also announced the formation of a new parent-like LEGO Brand Group that he will head, as well as being named chairman of LEGO’s board of directors. The new group’s purpose is to increase brand cohesion and efficiency across all products, not just the interlocking bricks, and to pursue further partnership opportunities beyond its theme parks, Hollywood movies, television shows and video games. The new parent group will also serve as a way for the Kristiansen clan, Denmark’s richest family and private owners of LEGO, to become more personally active in all brand efforts.
Jørgen Vig Knudstorp, left, with Thomas Kirk Kristiansen, fourth generation owner of the LEGO Group.
Oddly enough, this reorganization leaves the new LEGO CEO with fewer responsibilities and more time to focus on plastic bricks and sets. It remains to be seen what kind of impact this move will have on the LEGO fan community, but 2017 is shaping up to be quite an interesting year.
Press releases after the break.
The LEGO Group has announced that Bali Padda, current Chief Operations Officer, is appointed CEO of the company as of January 1, 2017.
Bali Padda takes over from Jørgen Vig Knudstorp who will head up the new entity LEGO Brand Group.
Bali Padda has been with the LEGO Group for 14 years and is at present heading up Operations while at the same time being overall responsible for people and organisational development. During the past ten years, he has been a member of the LEGO Group’s top management.
Commenting on the appointment of Bali Padda as CEO, Niels Jacobsen, Chairman of the Board of Directors of the LEGO Group, says:
“Bali Padda has a fantastic track record in the LEGO Group with more than 14 years of experience especially within supply chain functions, but more recently also focusing on people and organisational development. Bali has demonstrated an ability to drive the changes required in operations through the significant growth we have experienced during the past years. I am confident that Bali will continue to develop the company in close cooperation with management.”
Thomas Kirk Kristiansen, fourth generation owner of the LEGO Group, comments:
“Bali possesses the right LEGO mindset. He has a deep knowledge of our entire company, a very clear sense of what we need to do to take the company to the next level, and he is a true ambassador for the LEGO® Idea and the LEGO brand.”
Jørgen Vig Knudstorp is very pleased to hand over the management of the LEGO Group to Bali Padda:
“I have learnt a lot from Bali’s great leadership and execution which he has displayed through all of his career here. I have worked closely with Bali for many years and I am confident that we will continue to build on that close collaboration in our new roles,” says Knudstorp.
Commenting on his new role as CEO, Bali Padda says:
“I am extremely honoured by this opportunity. It is a huge and exciting task, and I look forward to the challenge. I have a strong passion for our product and brand, and I look forward to continuing the strategic direction we have set for the company. With the great collaboration in our management as well as the support from Thomas and Jørgen, I am confident that we can continue the success of the LEGO Group and reach many more children in the future with high-quality play experiences.”
Jørgen Vig Knudstorp to head up LEGO brand entity to increase focus on the long-term brand potential
Based on a strong commitment to continued active family ownership, the Kirk Kristiansen family, owners of the LEGO® brand, have decided to establish a new entity, the LEGO Brand Group.
The LEGO brand is built on a simple idea with endless possibilities; an idea that has proven its durability and timelessness, not least demonstrated by the unparalleled growth the LEGO Group has achieved over the past 12 years. With this in mind, the owner family firmly believes that there is still untapped potential in the LEGO brand.
“Our family ownership is deeply rooted in the LEGO Idea, which is about learning and development through play and a unique, creative play system that offers endless possibilities. With our recent growth and globalisation come new and exciting opportunities for the brand, and we establish the LEGO Brand Group to look into these new opportunities,” says Thomas Kirk Kristiansen, fourth generation owner of the LEGO Group.
The LEGO Brand Group will thus facilitate the owner governance of all LEGO brand related activities. This includes activities such as the LEGO Group and LEGO Education, and also how the brand is being expressed by entities such as LEGO Foundation and in LEGOLAND® attractions (by Merlin Entertainments Group). Therefore, the purpose of the LEGO Brand Group is also to protect and develop the LEGO brand.
Current CEO of the LEGO Group, Jørgen Vig Knudstorp will chair the new entity in close partnership with deputy chair, Thomas Kirk Kristiansen.
“It has been very exciting to make these preparations for the future – not just for the next generation but also for generations to come. I am very pleased about the partnership between Thomas and Jørgen because I am convinced that their joint efforts and skills support our mission to inspire and develop the builders of tomorrow in the best possible way,” says Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen, third generation owner of the LEGO Group and Chairman of KIRKBI A/S.
As a consequence of his new role in the LEGO Brand Group, the Board of Directors of LEGO A/S will nominate Jørgen Vig Knudstorp to become Chairman of the Board in May 2017.
Niels Jacobsen, present Chairman of the Board of Directors of LEGO A/S, will continue in his role as Deputy Chairman in KIRKBI A/S. Commenting on Jørgen Vig Knudstorp’s new role, he says:
“Over the past 12 years, Jørgen Vig Knudstorp has developed an outstanding knowledge and understanding of the opportunities and challenges for the LEGO Group and the LEGO brand. Now is the right time to use Jørgen’s capacity in a broader role. I look forward to continue working with Jørgen in the future and to continue my work with Kjeld and Thomas Kirk Kristiansen in the KIRKBI A/S Board of Directors”.
Commenting on his new role and the new entity, Jørgen Vig Knudstorp says:
“I really look forward to this new challenge together with Thomas. I have enjoyed being the CEO of this great company, because I have a lifelong passion for the LEGO Idea. The role and the job have changed very much over these years, and this is the natural next step, as I am a firm believer in the value of active family ownership.”
Bali Padda, currently Chief Operations Officer in the LEGO Group, has been appointed to replace Jørgen Vig Knudstorp as CEO, and he will take on his new role as of January 1, 2017.