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OBSERVATIONS 0F A TOY INDUSTRY SURVIVOR Jon Salisbury


This month, our columnist ponders the differing attitudes to success between Brits and our friends across the pond


IN THE annual maelstrom for the toy industry that is December, one story slipped under the radar with little or no comment: the induction of Jill Barad to the Toy Industry of America’s Hall of Fame. While the basic facts might have been reported, the astonishing cost to Mattel that led to her demise was glossed over. Barad was a toy industry


force of nature. She rose up through the ranks of Mattel in a 20-year career,


the top of a Fortune 500 company, adding the smashing of that particular glass ceiling to her many notable achievements, but The Learning Co. added nothing to the top or bottom line at Mattel. The reason I have chosen


to highlight Barad’s induction is to show how the American attitude to success differs from the British response to black marks on your career copybook. Can you imagine the Chairman of a PLC who had


The American attitude to success differs from the British response to black marks on your career copybook.


from a marketing manager to marketing director, overseeing the transformation of Barbie from stardom to superstardom until there was only one role left for her: Chairman and CEO. Then, one massive faux


pas was her undoing. While her intentions were good, its execution was to prove fatal for her toy career. Mattel’s $3.5 billion acquisition of software concern Learning Co. had been intended to counter the onslaught on the toy industry of computer games, but it proved to be a step too far. At the time, she was one of only four women to sit at


blown billions of pounds on a flawed business acquisition being honoured? Okay, the old school network might swing into action and provide succor in the form of dignified anonymity, but induction into Halls of Fame are unlikely. It is even more surprising


given the furore that surrounded her departure. At one point, over a six- month period, Mattel's stock collapsed, wiping out nearly three-quarters of its market capitalisation, and investors bayed for her blood and demanded her head. Barad’s $10 million plus Barbie-esque LA mansion


Jon Salisburyhas written about the toy business since 1985, editing magazines and running toy media events in New York and London. He can be contacted atjonsalisbury@icloud.comor @JonSalisbury


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AUDITED CIRCULATION Average Net Circulation: 6,106 July 2012 to June 2013. SUBSCRIPTIONS UK: £50 Europe: £60 Rest of World: £90 The international cost applies per subscription and covers airmail dispatch of 12 issues To order your subscription via Visa, MasterCard, Amex Switch or Delta contact toy.subscriptions@c-cms.com or call 01580 883 848. Alternatively visit our website www.toynews-online.biz Circulations Manager - Lianne Davey, lianne.davey@intentmedia.co.uk


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simply added more to her legendary status. While she might have been hoist by her own petard by promising more than she could deliver in the final analysis, the annals of American toy history will always choose to remember her for her triumphs and her philanthropic leadership like when Mattel committed $25 million to create Mattel Children’s Hospital UCLA. And that is the American spirit.


Follow me on Twitter @jonsalisbury


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