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Mattel to Merge Boys and Girls Units, Cut Jobs

The maker of Barbie and Hot Wheels says the move reflects an effort to function as a single company instead of several brands.

March 01, 2003|Leslie Earnest | Times Staff Writer

Toy maker Mattel Inc. said Friday that it will trim its executive ranks by about 5%, eliminating 10 senior management jobs, as it combines its girls and boys divisions into a single unit that will include the Barbie and Hot Wheels brands.

Matt Bousquette, who headed the international and boys divisions, will lead the combined Mattel Brands unit.

Girls division head Adrienne Fontanella has left the firm and could not be reached for comment.

The El Segundo-based toy maker said the move reflects the company's effort to streamline its business.

Since Chief Executive Robert Eckert took the helm three years ago, the company has worked to employ a "one Mattel" philosophy. The goal is to function as a single entity rather than a collection of brands, spokeswoman Alisa Marie Bongiovanni said.

Using this philosophy, Bousquette helped expand international sales over 10 consecutive quarters, she said.

"It was time to really apply that 'one Mattel' philosophy to the girls and boys division," she said.

Bongiovanni was unsure whether the combination would result in more jobs being cut.

"It's too early to predict fallout of lower-level jobs," she said. "But if there were losses of lower-level jobs, it wouldn't be significant."

For The Record
Los Angeles Times Friday March 14, 2003 Home Edition Main News Part A Page 2 National Desk 1 inches; 41 words Type of Material: Correction
Mattel job cuts-- In a March 1 Business section article about job cuts in the executive ranks at Mattel Inc. and the merger of two toy divisions, the first name of the company's spokeswoman, Lisa Marie Bongiovanni, was misspelled as Alisa.

The toy maker reported last month that profit rose 35% in the fourth quarter to $186.1 million.

Mattel also said its Pleasant Co. unit, which makes the history-themed American Girl dolls, is being detached from the girls division, allowing Ellen Brothers, president of that unit, to report directly to Eckert.

Bryan Stockton, executive vice president of business planning and development, will take over Bousquette's job as head of the international division.

The shifts are likely to elevate the Pleasant Co. and international divisions within the company and increase the units' business, said Linda Bolton-Weiser, an analyst with Fahnestock & Co.

"I think this is part of their larger strategy to work to diversify their channels of distribution," she said.

Mattel shares Friday fell 8 cents to $21.32 on the New York Stock Exchange.

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