Former Mattel CEO Jill Barad and Playmobil president Horst Brandstatter will be inducted into the US Toy Industry Association (TIA) Hall of Fame, along with the late Jack Friedman, former chairman, CEO and co-founder of Jakks Pacific, and the late co-founders of Wham-O, Arthur “Spud” Melin and Richard Knerr.
The five individuals will be inducted in a ceremony taking place on February 15 in New York in conjunction with the annual Toy of the Year Awards celebration. The individuals were selected for induction by members of the association in recognition of their significant contributions to the industry and the impact they have made on the lives of children. They will join a roster of 62 toy industry luminaries who have been previously inducted into the Hall since it was first established in 1984.
Barad (pictured) joined Mattel in 1981 as an employee in the company’s novelty section. She soon rose through the ranks and was promoted to director of the Barbie brand, where she grew the business to nearly US$2 billion worldwide at that time. Barad became one of four women to hold the helm of a Fortune 500 company in the late 1990s.
A 61-year vet of the toy industry, Brandstatter is the sole owner and president of geobra Brandstatter GmbH & Co. KG and head of Brandstatter Holding, based in Bavaria, Germany. He is better known as the manufacturer of Playmobil, which employs more than 3,700 people.
Friedman co-founded Jakks Pacific in January 1995 and served as its chairman and chief executive officer through March 31, 2010. Before Jakks, he led LJN Toys, guiding the company into licensed products based on TV shows – a new frontier for toy companies in the 1970s. He was also a major supporter of Jakks Cares, which has donated more than US$50 million worth of toys and school supplies to children around the world.
Melin and Knerr, figures behind iconic toys like Slip n’ Slide, Hacky Sack and Silly String, started Wham-O in 1948 in California and ran the company together for more than 30 years..