The LEGO Group’s Board of Directors has appointed Neils B. Christiansen as the company’s new CEO, starting October 1. Christiansen replaces Bali Padda, the toy brick-maker’s first non-Danish CEO appointed eight months ago, who will now serve in a special advisory role with LEGO Brand Group.
Christiansen was formerly CEO of Danfoss, a Danish family-owned global industrial technology company specializing in infrastructure, food supply, energy efficiency and climate-friendly technology. He has also held management consultancy roles at McKinsey and power tools manufacturer Hilti. His experience in digitalization and globalization will be particularly beneficial to LEGO, according to a company statement.
In December 2016, Padda took the reins as LEGO CEO from Jorgen Vig Knudstorp, who had led operations since 2004. During Padda’s brief tenure, the company launched LEGO Life, a social network for under-13s, released Justice League merchandising ahead of its November film release, started the World of Creativity tour that will stop in five US cities this summer before expanding in 2018, and announced out a LEGO Movie Unikitty spin-off with Cartoon Network.
LEGO recently reported record-breaking revenue for 2016, partially driven by strong growth in Europe and Asia. In fact, 2016 brought upon the company’s highest-annual revenue in its 85-year history, rising 6% to US$5.4 billion versus US$5.1 billion in 2015.