The boss of Mattel, the company that makes Barbie dolls, was fired on Monday after the firm reported collapsing profits as girls fall out of love with Barbie and Ken.
Bryan Stockton, Mattel’s chairman and chief executive, was sacked by the company’s board on Monday morning after the firm reported a 59% drop in profits.
Mattel, which also makes Fisher-Price preschool toys and Hot Wheels toy cars, said the company needed a “leadership change” to revitalise the firm and rapidly adapt to children’s changing preferences.
Barbie has fallen out of favour with young girls, who are switching to tablets and dolls based on movie characters like Walt Disney’s hit animated movie Frozen.
In 2009, Barbie accounted for more than quarter of all doll sales in the US, but that had fallen to 19.6% in 2013.
Last year, Mattel lost its crown as the world’s biggest toy company when it was overtaken by Lego as the globe’s most profitable toy maker.
Stockton, who joined Mattel three years ago and has overseen collapsing sales over the last five quarters, is leaving the company with immediate effect. He was not quoted in the firm’s announcement.
Mattel has been struggling in recent years as the company has failed to quickly adapt to children’s changing demands.
On Monday, Mattel said profits over the last three months of 2014 dropped 59% to $150m. Sales fell 6% to $2bn.
Mattel’s shares were down 3% to $27.17 at 11.30am on Monday.
Stockton has been replaced by Christopher Sinclair as interim chairman and CEO. Sinclair has served on the toy company’s board since 1996.
“Mattel is an exceptional company with a great future but the board believes that it is the right time for new leadership to maximise its potential,” Sinclair said. “We are committed to delivering improved growth and financial performance and remain confident in our ability to leverage our unmatched portfolio of brands, global scale and strong balance sheet as we execute on our strategic plan.
“We will be working during the coming months to revitalize the business and to identify the right leadership for Mattel as it enters its next phase of growth and value creation.”
This article was written by Rupert Neate in New York, for theguardian.com on Monday 26th January 2015 17.37 Europe/Londonguardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010