Hasbro president resigns in restructure row

Norman Walker, the UK-based president of toymaker Hasbro International, has resigned because he felt “sidelined” by a global reshuffle, say sources close to the company.

Meanwhile, the company is also trying to fill the newly-created post of president of global marketing.

Walker, who was the most senior person in the company outside the US, will take up a post in the States as president and chief executive officer of building blocks toy company K’nex.

The move that prompted Walker to leave was the promotion of four of Hasbro’s key marketing personnel to worldwide roles.

Head of international marketing Simon Gardner, who works from the company’s greater London offices, has been promoted to general manager for girls’ toys and activity.

Sharon Hartley, formerly head of Playskool and pre-school activities, has been made general manager for global marketing and development. Tom McGarth, previously head of boys’ toys US, has been made general manager for boys’ toys. Lastly, Robert Wann, previously head of games and puzzles in the US, becomes general manager for games and puzzles.

The aim of the move is to unify product development across its four main sites in the US and the UK.

The four executives will report to Ginger Kent, head of global brand and product development. Previously Simon Gardner, who is seen as a rising star in the company, had reported to Walker.

One source close to the company says Walker, who has worked for the company for 18 years, felt that these moves meant his progress at Hasbro had come to a halt.

US studio DreamWorks is close to signing a licensing deal with 3D Licensing, a subsidiary of Hasbro. The studio, set up by Steven Spielberg, David Geffen and Jeffrey Katzenberg, is in discussions with the licensee to handle its products across Western Europe. Australia, New Zealand and the Pacific Rim may be included in the deal.

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