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Plink: Lego swaps CEO for newer piece

Toy company has midlife crisis, ditches 61-year-old Bali Padda

By Rebecca Hill, 10 Aug 2017

Lego has swapped out its CEO of just eight months after finding a younger man to fill the role.

Bali Padda, 61, took over the top job at the toymaker in January this year, but has now been replaced with Niels B Christiansen, who is 10 years his junior.

In an interview with the Financial Times, Lego chairman Jørgen Vig Knudstorp said that the leadership switch was nothing to do with Padda’s performance - the company’s sales growth slowed last quarter - but was instead down to his age. He was never expected to stay in the role long term, said the exec.

According to the FT, the management team had known in advance that Padda could only do the job for a few years at most.

“It isn’t [a humiliation]. He’s definitely not disappointed us. Bali knew that I would immediately look for a successor. Both Bali and I thought it would take a long time as it’s not a trivial matter. I was just very fortunate that, relatively early, we found the right person,” Knudstorp is quoted as saying.

In a canned statement, Lego noted that Christiansen became CEO of GN Netcom at 33 - as well as saying that he had spent more than 25 years in business leadership. (Hang on… is that experience good or bad now? We can’t keep up.)

Meanwhile, Padda, who has worked at Lego for 15 years, has been handed a special advisory role with the group.

Of course it’s anyone’s guess whether 51-year-old whipper-snapper Christiansen will ignore the elder advisor talking about what toys were like in his day. ®

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