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INFLUENTIAL EXECS


GILLES SAUTIER European CEO, VTech


Sautier joined the group in 2000 and is responsible for Electronic Learning Products in the UK, France, Belgium, Holland, Luxembourg, Spain and Germany, as well as some export markets like Italy and Portugal. He is also responsible for the support centre in Holland


which takes care of finance, logistics management and IT systems for the Euro sales companies. Sautier has over 30 years of experience having also worked at Kenner Parker, Spear’s Games, Ideal Toys and Majorette.


NEIL SHINNER Managing Director, Worlds Apart


Shinner was more or less born into the toy industry with family who worked as retailers and importers of toys and key positions at Woolworths and Dillons. He joined Worlds Apart in 1991 to provide project support, and shortly afterwards was appointed to a permanent role


as operations manager, with a focus on manufacturing capability. Today, he is MD, chief executive and partner with a focus on ensuring market insight is increased to drive diversification and development for Worlds Apart.


DANIEL STEEL Managing Director, Esdevium


Having grown up around his parent’s game shop, Steel joined the family business in 1986, setting up a distribution arm three years later. Starting small in the hobby market, distribution grew steadily and Steel acquired exclusive UK agreements for key properties, including the


Pokémon Trading Card Game. In 2010, Esdevium became part of the French games publishing group, Asmodee, acquiring its catalogue of games and allowing Esdevium to enhance distribution to its customers.


MARK WALLS Managing Director, HTI


Walls joined HTI in 1994, taking a role in the sales administration department. From there, he became senior national account manager before leaving the firm to join Vivid for four years as business development manager. Walls rejoined HTI in 2006 as head of the national accounts


management team. He was promoted to sales director and then managing director of the firm’s UK operation in December 2010. His leadership skills and valuable experience have proved pivotal in HTI’s growth.


FIONA WRIGHT UK General Manager, LEGO


Wright was promoted to her current role at LEGO on January 1st 2013 and is responsible for the total sales function in the UK and Ireland (which accounts for some of the group’s largest customer base and global retail turnover). Wright has worked at LEGO since 2000, when she joined


as brand director for Europe North. She also enjoyed spells as national account direcor, marketing director and head of sales. Prior to LEGO, Wright worked for The Walt Disney Company, Hasbro and Kellogg Company.


www.toynews-online.biz


ATUL SHAH CEO, Hy-Pro International


Shah has 20 years of hands on experience in licensing. His current role within Hy-Pro is very strategic, focusing on long-term objectives to grow its brands domestically and internationally. His previous background in professional accounting has been a strong platform for


running the business. Hy-Pro has evolved into a multi- national company with offices in Hong Kong and China. Shah’s main achievement has been the success of the firm’s own brand, Zinc.


CHRIS SPALDING MD & SVP EMEA & Asia, LeapFrog


Spalding has a vast skill set, boasting extensive knowledge across a variety of sectors from FMCG to leisure and media. He joined LeapFrog in 2008 as MD, EMEA and Australia and was promoted to senior vice president in 2011. His responsibilities include overseeing the


development of the brand. Prior to this, Spalding was international COO at Metro International, while he has also held roles at Associated Newspapers, Virgin Cola Company, Pepsi Cola and Coca-Cola International.


JONATHAN THORPE Managing Director, John Crane


Thorpe started his career with Fisher-Price Toys as trainee representative in 1979 and went on to become sales representative. He joined Playmobil in 1981, holding the position of president of Playmobil in the US from 1993 to 1999. He was one of the original start up team


for eToys in the US in 1999, before moving back to the UK the following year to set up the European arm. In 2000, Thorpe joined International Greetings as MD before moving to John Crane nine years later.


CLIVE WOOSTER UK Managing Director, Famosa


Wooster spent 13 years at Fisher-Price in a variety of roles including head of sales. Then came three years with Kidzbiz as sales and marketing director, before spending 12 years at The First Years as European VP. After the RC2 acquisition, seven more years were spent as joint European


MD. Following the Tomy acquisition, Wooster spent a further two years in the European sales role before joining Famosa in September 2013. Spare time sees him racing cars, bicycles and doing charity walks.


NICK WRIGHT Managing Director, Gibsons


Wright trained in marketing with United Biscuits and joined Tonka in 1987, becoming UK marketing director following the merger with Kenner Parker. After Hasbro’s acquisition of Tonka, he moved to the Netherlands to run a confectionery business, joining Mattel as general


manager for Benelux and export while he was over there. After a spell away from the industry, Wright spent a year with Zak Designs in licensed tableware before taking on his current role at Gibsons in 2009.


January/February 37


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