Saturday 16 December 2017

Lego boss removed after just eight months because of his age

Will Ferrell plays a Lego collector in the Lego Movie
Will Ferrell plays a Lego collector in the Lego Movie

Sam Dean

Lego has removed its British chief executive after just eight months in the top job, saying it has found a younger replacement earlier than expected.

The 61-year-old Bali Padda, who became the first non-Dane to lead the plastic brick giant when he started as chief executive in January, has been moved to a “special advisory role” to make way for new boss Niels Christiansen, the former chief executive of industrial technology company Danfoss.

Lego’s chairman Jorgen Vig Knudstorp said the decision was not a reflection of Mr Padda’s performance, but because the Briton’s age meant that he would not be able to have a long tenure.

“He has definitely not disappointed us,” Mr Knudstorp told the Financial Times. “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.”

The privately-owned toymaker, which has recovered from near-collapse 13 years ago, saw slowing growth in the second half of last year as profits returned to a more “sustainable” level after years of double-digit growth.

In a statement, Mr Knudstorp said Mr Padda, who has worked at the company for 15 years, played an “integral role in the turnaround” and created a “solid foundation from which to continue to transform the company”.

Mr Christiansen, who is 51 years old starts as chief executive in October, said he has “loved building with Lego bricks” since he was a child.

“As I look at the challenges facing this generation of children, the group’s mission, to inspire and develop the builders of tomorrow, is more important and urgent than ever,” he said.

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