Lego's first non-Danish CEO is leaving due to age.
At the end of last year, when longstanding Lego chief executive Jorgen Vig Knudstorp vacated the position to head up the new Lego Brand Group umbrella company, chief operations officer Bali Padda was installed in the toy company’s CEO space.
Now Padda, a 61-year-old British businessman who was the first non-Dane to lead Lego in its 85-year history, is himself being replaced. After just eight months in the position, Padda is stepping aside to let 51-year-old Niels Christiansen take over.
Christiansen was until this year the CEO of Danish industrial manufacturer Danfoss, which he led for nine years.
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According to a Financial Times report, Padda decided to leave because of his age, which meant he could only expect to do the job for “a few years” more. “He’s definitely not disappointed us,” Knudstorp told the newspaper.
“Bali has been part of the Lego Group family for the past 15 years. He played an integral role in the turnaround of the Lego Group and during his time as CEO created a solid foundation from which to continue to transform the company,” Knudstorp said in a statement.
After a transition period, Padda will become a special advisor at the Lego Brand Group.
Lego has had a great few years, with sales exploding on the back of tie-ins with movies, including Lego’s own cinematic efforts, such as The Lego Movie and The Lego Batman Movie. However, its most recent results showed growth slowing. Padda attributed this in part to flattening consumer sales in the U.S.