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Mattel Taps Google Executive To Lead Toy Maker

January 17, 2017, 3:39 PM UTC

Mattel, the toy maker behind the iconic Barbie and Fisher-Price brands, has appointed Google Americas President Margaret “Margo” Georgiadis to serve as chief executive officer, the second change to the CEO post since early 2015.

Georgiadis—who led search giant Google’s (GOOG) commercial operations and ad sales in the U.S., Canada and Latin America for six years—will take over the mantle at Mattel (MAT) effective February 8. She will also join the board of directors. The former Google executives succeeds Christopher A. Sinclair, a long-serving board member who had led the toy maker since early 2015.

In addition to her work at Google, Georgiadis has also served as COO of daily deals e-commerce website Groupon (GRPN) and as chief marketing officer at Discover Financial Services (DFS). She also currently serves on the boards of fast-food purveyor McDonald’s (MCD) and renewable products maker Amyris (AMRS).

“Inspiring children through play and creativity is crucial to early development and no company has done more in that space over many generations than Mattel,” said Georgiadis in a statement “As a parent, I have seen this first hand and am honored to be joining the Company at this exciting time of renewed focus.”

Georgiadis comes to Mattel at a time of relative stability. Sales for core brands like Barbie have been improving as innovation under Sinclair has been well received by consumers. Most notably, that brand went under a major overhaul as it added new body types, skin colors and hair styles to deviate from the slender doll that was the standard for decades. Sinclair also aimed to work with tech startups to add technology in a more appropriate manner to toys (after internal efforts led to so-so results) and aimed to make decisions at a faster pace than in the past.

Sinclair, a former PepsiCo (PEP) executive, came to Mattel at a time when sales and the company’s stock price were slumping as sales of core brands like Barbie suffered from a lack of innovation that resonated in toy stores. Sinclair took over the reigns Bryan Stockton, who resigned after a few years of woes.

For Georgiadis, the goal will be to continue to boost sales of brands like Barbie, American Girl, and Hot Wheels at a time when kids are increasingly playing with mobile devices. That’s been a broad challenge for other toy makers like Hasbro (HAS) and privately held Lego—adding some technology to toys but also encouraging traditional play. There are also few notable M&A targets in the toy space, though there had been some speculation that Mattel and Hasbro were in potential merger talks.

With the appointment of Georgiadis, Mattel will add another woman to the small group of 27 female executives that steer Fortune 500 companies. Mattel ranked #450 on the latest list. Georgiadis is also the second woman to steer Mattel. Jill Barad ran the toy company for a few years in the late 1990s until she was ousted following a widely panned $3.5 billion acquisition of software company Learning Co.