Mattel's CEO Georgiadis heads to Ancestry. Toymaker taps Ynon Kreiz to replace her

Key Points
  • Mattel named Ynon Kreiz as its new CEO.
  • Margaret Georgiadis will step down from the CEO post, effective April 26.
  • Georgiadis, a former Google executive, joined the toy company in February 2017.
  • Mattel has had a tough year, with weak sales of its iconic brands like American Girl Doll and Fisher-Price.
Ynon Kreiz to become new Mattel CEO

Mattel named Ynon Kreiz as its new CEO, replacing Margaret Georgiadis, who is stepping down to take the top job at consumer genomics company Ancestry.

Kreiz has been a director on Mattel's board since June 2017, and is slated to be elected as the board's chairman at its shareholder meeting on May 17. He was replacing Christopher Sinclair, the executive chairman and former Mattel CEO, who announced his plan to retire last year.

Shares of the company fell more than 3 percent Thursday. In the last 12 months, shares have slipped more than 45 percent.

Kreiz has more than two decades of experience in the media and entertainment industries, particularly children's entertainment, areas that Mattel's rival Hasbro has excelled in. Hasbro Studios produces online shows like "Littlest Pet Shop," "The Adventures of Chuck & Friends" and "G.I.J.O.E." which each have their own line of toys.

He is the former CEO and chairman of Maker Studios, which was sold to The Walt Disney Company in 2014. Prior to that he was the chairman and CEO of Endemol Group, one of the world's largest independent television production companies.

Earlier in his career, Kreiz co-founded Fox Kids Group Europe, a children's entertainment company, which was also acquired by Disney in 2002.

"Ynon has tremendous expertise across areas critical to our strategy, including digital, media and entertainment, and we have already benefited from that experience and his compelling vision for the company since he became a director," Sinclair said in a statement Thursday.

Mattel CEO Margo Georgiadis in talks to leave

Georgiadis, a former Google executive who joined the toy company in February 2017, has been unable to revive sales of the Barbie and Hot Wheels maker, despite overhauling the company's management team, suspending its dividend and developing plans to cut $650 million in costs.

She will begin her job at Ancestry on May 10. Her departure from Mattel is effective April 26.

Georgiadis will replace interim CEO Howard Hochhauser, who will return to his role as chief financial officer and chief operating officer for the company.

Mattel has been hurt by weak sales of its iconic brands like American Girl Doll and Fisher-Price as more children gravitate toward video games and electronics instead of traditional toys.

Toys R Us' bankruptcy and liquidation also has been a drag on its earnings.

In October, just after Toys R Us' bankruptcy announcement, Mattel said it planned to cut $650 million in costs over the next two years, with one-third expected to be realized in 2018. More recently, the company announced plans to close its New York office as part of these efforts.

Toys R Us was Mattel's second-largest customer and accounted for between 15 to 20 percent of U.S. sales. Without these toy stores, Mattel will have to find other ways of showcasing its products either by going online to marketplaces like Amazon or by squeezing into big box stores.

Mattel is set to report fiscal first-quarter earnings on April 26 after the closing bell.