Lego UK general manager defects to rival toy group

Lego UK general manager Anders Kloster has left the struggling toy company after 14 years to join rival LeapFrog Toys as UK managing director.

Kloster, who has been UK general manager since April last year, has been replaced by vice-president of marketing for Lego Japan Marko Ilincic, who took up his new role yesterday (Tuesday). Ilincic has been with Lego for ten years.

Kloster replaces Richard Body at LeapFrog, which launched in the UK in 2000 and has established itself as a leading provider of technology-based educational toys for pre-school children. Body is stepping down as managing director, but it is believed he will remain with the company in another capacity.

Lego appointed Carat to handle its &£35m pan-European media planning and buying account in November (MW November 18, 2004). In the UK, the business moved from Starcom Motive.

The decision to review its media account followed a disastrous year for Lego. The company reported an annual loss of &£127m – its worst to date – following a 25 per cent drop in global sales. It blamed its poor performance on an over-reliance on licences and the fact that it neglected its core building-brick product.

Lego scrapped its pre-school Explore range because of poor sales, reviving the classic Duplo bricks in its place, as the company embarked on a back-to-basics strategy. It launched a Dora the Explorer range under the Duplo brand last month and other launches this year include Lego City and a new Star Wars range.

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