Mattel’s UK chief Denis Horton quits

Mattel’s UK managing director Denis Horton has left the international toy company to pursue “other professional interests”.

The move was widely expected, following disappointing performances by the company’s two flagship brands, Barbie and Fisher-Price, in the UK. This was despite high- profile promotional campaigns such as Barbie’s “pink month” last November, which included painting a Manchester street pink.

John Salisbury, editor of UK Toy News, says: “We have expected this for some time now.

“The two core brands – Barbie and Fisher Price – needed addressing. Mattel was looking for more growth in the more mature European market.”

According to Salisbury, Fisher-Price sales have declined in the UK and Barbie’s growth was just four per cent last year, compared with sustained growth across the company in the US.

It is thought that Mike Rosicki, the former managing director of Mattel Canada – who became European managing director last year, had been planning to make sweeping changes to the UK operation.

The company’s strategy is to double international sales within the next five years to. At present, international sales represent about a third of turnover, but they are projected to account for about half.

Graham Benison, vice-president, human resources and corporate affairs, will serve as acting general manager of Mattel UK until a replacement is found.

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