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INFLUENTIAL EXECS


MARTIN GROSSMAN Managing Director, H Grossman


Grossman was literally born into the trade, the son of Rae and Harry Grossman, Glasgow-based toys and fancy goods traders. He joined the family business straight from


school, moving the focus over time from fancy goods to toys. He has a reputation for spotting lines that will become popular quickly, achieving mass sales. H Grossman Ltd is now the largest


toy company in Scotland and has won many awards from the industry for lines such as Scoobies, Alien Eggs, Pogo Sticks and Chrome scooters. In the last decade, the company has also moved into licensed ranges and has achieved even more success.


KAI HAWALESCHA Managing Director, DKL Marketing


Hawaleschka has been in the toy business for most of his life – over 40 years in fact. Having owned a plastics toy manufacturing factory called Dantoy in Denmark, Hawaleschka and his wife Dorte sold the business to set up DKL 25 years ago. He brought with him the infamous Trolls, followed by Hama beads which DKL still


distributes today alongside Corolle Dolls, Wonderworld Wooden Toys, Miniland Educational and Munchkin Toys. Hawaleschka is very well known in the trade and is on the board of the BTHA as a council member representing small companies.


BARRY HUGHES General Manager, Golden Bear Toys


Hughes joined Golden Bear as commercial director in 2011. He now has the role of general manager and has overseen the signing of new licences including In The Night Garden, Something Specialand Woolly & Tig. His previous role as product development and


marketing director for Corinthian Marketing saw him grow the company turnover four fold in his


nine years, as well as introducing Puppy in my Pocket back into the UK market. Prior to this, Hughes worked for McDonald’s on the pan


European Happy Meal programme, delivering 45 million toys per month to their respective countries.


ANDREW LAUGHTON Managing Director, MGA & Zapf Creation UK


Laughton vowed never to work in the toy industry or for his father at Max Zapf – but after agreeing to help out for six months his fate was sealed. Over the course of 23 years, Laughton has enjoyed a hugely successful career that saw him set up Zapf Creation UK in 1999. In 2007, Isaac Larian, CEO of MGA, purchased a majority share, with Laughton playing a pivotal


role in helping to set up the combined businesses of MGA, Little Tikes and Zapf Creation. Today he oversees the running of the combined businesses in all of EMEA. “Agreeing to help my father all those years ago was the best decision I ever made,” he says.


www.toynews-online.biz


STEPHEN HAINES Chairman & Founder, Carte Blanche Group


Haines is chairman and founder of The Carte Blanche Group, an international creator, distributor and licensor of character products, including toys, gifts, greeting cards, apparel and homeware. The firm is best known for Tatty Teddy, the grey bear with a blue nose and patches, and the signature character behind the Me to You brand.


Haines founded Carte Blanche in 1987 with a small


portfolio of just six greetings cards. Since then the firm has enjoyed rapid growth and success, launching into the toy arena with the award winning Tatty Teddy & My Blue Nose Friends in late 2012 with phenomenal success.


SIMON HEDGE Managing Director, GP Flair


Hedge has been with Flair since its formation in 1999 and was a founding member with chairman Peter Brown and finance director Carl Moran. He has for many years been involved in the acquisition of new brands for distribution, many of which are now Europe-wide as part of the GP Group.


With a dedicated and talented team behind him,


Hedge has seen the company rise to be one of the top five UK toy companies, handling prestigious brands such as Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and Doc McStuffins in its portfolio.


UFFE KLOSTER UK Commercial Director, Playmobil


Kloster is a relative newcomer to Playmobil, joining the firm in September 2013 to head up the UK operation as commercial director. As the brand celebrates its 40th year, he will


be responsible for driving forward the global toy brand’s consistent growth and helping to achieve its goal of becoming a top six toy supplier in the UK.


Originally from Denmark, Kloster has extensive


experience in the European toy market. Fluent in five languages, he has worked as managing director in Denmark, Germany, Spain and now the UK, bringing cultural expertise to further develop Playmobil.


MICHAEL LEHRTER Chief Executive, Re:creation


A US native, Lehrter enjoyed a long and distinguished career in general management with computer giant Dell, successfully setting up a number of key international subsidiary businesses for the firm during the IT boom years of the 1990s. Having invested in Re:creation when the business was a fledgling start-up, Lehrter lead


the firm through a successful restructure in early 2011 and was appointed chief executive in 2012. The last two years have seen him spearhead further launches including Finger Whips mini scooters, Air Storm bows and a range of LEGO licensed keylights and torches.


January/February 35


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