Get All Access for $5/mo

Lego Replaces Long-Time CEO With Company's First Foreign Boss Briton Bali Padda, currently chief operations officer, will replace Jorgen Vig Knudstorp, who was the first chief executive from outside the Kristiansen clan, Denmark's richest family.

By Reuters

This story originally appeared on Reuters

Fabian Bimmer | Reuters

Danish toymaker Lego is to appoint its first foreign CEO and give its family owners a bigger role in developing the Lego brand under an organizational shake-up that will see incumbent Jorgen Vig Knudstorp step down by the end of the year.

Briton Bali Padda, currently chief operations officer, will replace Knudstorp, who was the first chief executive from outside the Kristiansen clan, Denmark's richest family. He has led the company through a turnaround since his appointment in 2004, a year after the company flirted with bankruptcy.

Knudstorp will head up the company's new Lego Brand Group, while the owner family will become active in brand-related activities, including the group's stake in Merlin Entertainments, operator of the Legoland theme parks and in Lego Education used in schools.

Lego, with revenues of 35.8 billion Danish crowns ($5.2 billion) last year, is vying with Barbie doll maker Mattel to become the world's biggest toymaker, helped by its push into movie franchises, video games and smartphone applications.

The company said its new brand group will help it reap "untapped potential in the LEGO brand."

"With our recent growth and globalization 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.

Under extrovert, quirky CEO Knudstorp, Lego overtook My Little Pony producer Hasbro to become the world's second-largest toy company.

After taking over in 2004, he set about reviving Lego's core business, by firing consultants and hiring new designers to come up with higher-margin products that were up to date but still looked like Lego, an abbreviation of the Danish "leg godt," meaning "play well."

(Reporting by Jacob Gronholt-Pedersen and Teis Jensen; Editing by Susan Fenton)

Want to be an Entrepreneur Leadership Network contributor? Apply now to join.

Editor's Pick

Starting a Business

I Left the Corporate World to Start a Chicken Coop Business — Here Are 3 Valuable Lessons I Learned Along the Way

Board meetings were traded for barnyards as a thriving new venture hatched.

Side Hustle

'The Work Just Fills My Soul': She Turned Her Creative Side Hustle Into a 6-Figure 'Dream' Business

Kayla Valerio, owner of vivid hair salon Haus of Color, transformed her passion into a lucrative venture.

Business Ideas

63 Small Business Ideas to Start in 2024

We put together a list of the best, most profitable small business ideas for entrepreneurs to pursue in 2024.


ChatGPT is Becoming More Human-Like. Here's How The Tool is Getting Smarter at Replicating Your Voice, Brand and Personality.

AI can be instrumental in building your brand and boosting awareness, but the right approach is critical. A custom GPT delivers tailored collateral based on your ethos, personality and unique positioning factors.

Business News

Is the AI Industry Consolidating? Hugging Face CEO Says More AI Entrepreneurs Are Looking to Be Acquired

Clément Delangue, the CEO of Hugging Face, a $4.5 billion startup, says he gets at least 10 acquisition requests a week and it's "increased quite a lot."

Business News

Apple Reportedly Isn't Paying OpenAI to Use ChatGPT in iPhones

The next big iPhone update brings ChatGPT directly to Apple devices.