LEGO appoints new CEO

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From the LEGO.com newsroom:

The LEGO Group today announced that its Board of Directors has appointed Niels B. Christiansen, 51, as CEO of the LEGO Group effective October 1, 2017.

Christiansen was most recently CEO of global industrial technology company, Danfoss, a position he held for nine years until end of June 2017. Christiansen replaces Bali Padda, 61, a long-standing LEGO Group executive, who will assume a special advisory role with LEGO Brand Group.

Jørgen Vig Knudstorp, Executive Chairman of LEGO Brand Group said, ‘Niels is a great leader who delivered outstanding results while CEO of Danfoss. There, he transformed a traditional industrial company into a technology leader. His experience in digitalisation and globalisation, implementing a transformative strategy, and creating an agile, high performing, international team will benefit the LEGO Group. The Board is confident that under Niels, the LEGO Group will continue to flourish and bring play experiences to more children around the world.’ Knudstorp said the transition to a new CEO occurred more rapidly than the Board had anticipated.

"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. He is a great friend and a wonderful ambassador for the LEGO brand," said Knudstorp.

Niels B. Christiansen has spent more than 25 years in business leadership. He began his career at management consultancy, McKinsey and power tools manufacturer, Hilti, and became CEO of GN Netcom aged 33. He joined Danfoss in 2004 and became CEO in 2008. During his tenure, the company doubled in size to 39 billion DKK, increased its global footprint and transformed its portfolio in response to changing customer demands. Danfoss is a family-owned, Danish-based global technology company which specializes in infrastructure, food supply, energy efficiency and climate-friendly technology solutions.

Christiansen said: "I am honoured to have the opportunity to join an organisation as iconic and purpose-driven as the LEGO Group. I have loved building with LEGO bricks since I was a child. As I look at the challenges facing this generation of children, the Group’s mission, to inspire and develop the builders of tomorrow, is more important and urgent than ever. I am looking forward to working with the Board, the family and the LEGO Group team as we embark on the next phase of global growth."

About Niels B. Christiansen
Niels has broad experience leading large, global high-tech companies. He was most recently President & CEO of Danfoss A/S, a position he left in June 2017. Niels joined Danfoss in 2004 as Executive Vice President and a member of the Executive Committee for Danfoss A/S. He became Chief Operating Officer in 2005, Vice-CEO in 2006 and President & CEO in 2008.

Niels began his career as a management consultant at McKinsey & Co. Following this he joined Hilti Corp as Vice President Corporate Development. In 1997, he joined GN Netcom, moving to the role of President & CEO in 2000. In 2003, he was appointed Group Executive Vice President at GN Store Nord.

He is Chairman of the Board of William Demant Holding A/S and Axcel and a Member of the Board of AP Møller-Maersk A/S and Technical University of Denmark (DTU).

33 comments on this article

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By in United Kingdom,

Woah, it's been a busy hour!

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By in Germany,

Well, that was quick.

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By in Norway,

...."will continue to flourish and bring play experiences to more children around the world."

OMG, I feel childish! :)

Afol, aged 38.

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By in United Kingdom,

US sales flat = Padda fired.

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By in Germany,

Padda fired, McKinsey man installed.

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By in Belgium,

perhaps this was the big surprise in the big box

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By in Jordan,

This was rather unexpected.

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By in United States,

This is from LostInTranslation on the BS Forum:

This BBC article does say Bali was never intended to be a long-term appointment.
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-40884749
A point which is omitted in the Live feed, in favour of saying he was "pushed aside"....

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By in United States,

Well that didn't last long...

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By in Hungary,

@tomenadi he was the big surprise in the big box - hahaha, lol

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By in United States,

So, it sounds like the last name is just a coincidence?

DaveE

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By in United States,

^davee123
That thought definitely crossed my mind too. Maybe Christiansen is as common a last name in Denmark as Smith is in the English speaking world?

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By in United Kingdom,

I think it's coincidence. It's not even spelled the same way as the founding family's name.

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By in Sweden,

Given my experiences with Danfoss maybe Lego will not fit properly anymore and the electronics just start failing.

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By in United States,

Nice background, but does he have a Brickset account?

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By in United States,

@catwrangler - Actually, the founding family's name is indeed "Christiansen"-- Kjeld's name was misspelled on his birth certificate! I wasn't sure if this was someone else in the family, but maybe not one of Kjeld's children. But from everything I can gather, doesn't sound like he's in the family.

DaveE

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By in Norway,

@davee123, "Christiansen" _is_ one of the most common family names in Danmark. Like "Smith" in England and "Olsen/Hansen" in Norway. But "Mohammad/Mohammed/whatever" might have passed as the most common family name at this point.

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By in United States,

Well, that was fast.

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By in United States,

In regards to the BBC article, when Bali was appointed it was never mentioned he was only going to be an interim CEO. This just sounds like PR mumbo-jumbo. Still, I was very surprised that he was replaced so fast. It's kind of hard to accomplish anything major in such a short time. I'm wondering how LEGO's revenue report will turn out this year. I know they reported falling sales in the US last year, and perhaps they were still not able to turn that around?

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By in United States,

My personal thought is that the CEO got changed so fast because of some kind of difference of opinions such as what to invest in where on large corporate levels as well as minutia such as what products and content where considered to be relevant to the LEGO brand. One thing I will say is that sales may not have been the main drive for replacement but I have seen a lot of sets at ether prices so high they shot into space or crazy low prices just days or sometimes hours after they're being released, they may have realized that you can't sell something for too much or no one really buys it, the low low low prices are great for fans and honestly they can sell sets for lower then the recent list prices but they can't afford to just give everything away for free ether! I Hope and pray the new CEO listens to the fans and gets smart enough to put in place fairer list prices and maybe some fan favorite themes like Space and Adventures! It's an interesting change ether way!

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By in United States,

Interesting change especially when you know Lego needs some help in their digital side.

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By in United States,

Just a bit of interesting tidbit. Mark Stafford just tweeted this: "Another new CEO! Nothing to see here, Bali's age always meant he was only an interim leader. Though this was fast!"

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By in Sweden,

"His experience in digitalisation and globalisation, implementing a transformative strategy, and creating an agile, high performing, international team will benefit the LEGO Group. " - Maybe, just maybe he will be able to lead the way to launch a modern and functional website??

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By in United States,

@Chillis_no: You realize that Muslims in Denmark make up less than 5% of the population, and immigrants/children of immigrants make up less than 15%? The first part of your comment was genuinely helpful and constructive; I don't see why you had to end it with absurd hyperbole that makes you sound like a pea-brained xenophobe/Islamophobe.

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By in Australia,

This is a surprise. Its good to have a CEO that has the Christansen name (even though they aren't related and yes, Christansen is an extremely common Danish name).

However, from a business point of view, I would think that a company would want to have a chosen CEO for longer then they did with Bali Pudda. I am suspicious if there was something Mr Pudda did that has caused this surprise change of CEO.

Thanks for sharing this Brickset!

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By in Germany,

Perhaps Padda was behind the introduction of the soon to be re-released MF and that was a box just too big to handle ;-)

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By in United States,

First order of business: Purchase the iBricks lighting system! New CEOs almost always start with an acquisition as their first move. DO IT!!!

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By in Australia,

Padda's role was rather temporary from the beginning (article from 6 December 2016):

http://www.business.dk/industri/ny-lego-direktoer-paa-laant-tid-jagten-paa-hans-efterfoelger-er-gaaet-ind

Google translatation: "Jørgen Vig Knudstorp's first task as chairman of Lego Brand Group will be a replacement for Lego's newly appointed CEO. Thus, the 60-year-old Bali Padda is not part of the long-term perspective, as the Lego family makes a virtue of maintaining."

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By in United Kingdom,

@Chillis_no Seriously! No need for xenophobic nonsense on this site, or any site for that matter! It achieves nothing other than making you look ignorant.

Really disappointed to see that 5 other Brickset users 'like' your comment too. I thought this community held itself to a higher standard.

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By in Malaysia,

Re release + long lifespan = goodbye LEGO + 0 value

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By in Indonesia,

I wasn't expecting Bali Padda to actually get replaced with Niels Christiansen this fast. After just 7 months of being in the Lego Group, Bali Padda got replaced with Niels Christiansen att his point. Kjeld Kirk Christiansen has already been with us along with Jorgen Vig Knudstorp (sorry if name is misspelled) and Bali Padda too. I never usually thought of him replacing Bali this fast. Usually CEOs last for quite a long time, but I have never experienced anything this fast.

Also, looking at kartoffelviking's post, I don't know exactly what "Not part of part of the long term perspective" means.

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By in United States,

They should have fired him a long time ago!!!

Back before he decided to build that new plant in CHINA!!

Lego as an investment is on the Decline thanks to LEPIN and globalization.

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By in United States,

Well I'm glad that I got to meet Bali Padda and get his business card figure.

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