Mattel's chairman will retire at the end of the year. CEO Bryan Stockton… (Rick Bowmer / Associated…)
Toy behemoth Mattel Inc. said that chairman Robert Eckert will retire at year's end and Chief Executive Bryan Stockton will take over the role on Jan. 1.
Stockton took over the CEO job at the El Segundo toy maker in January when Eckert stepped aside after 11 years guiding the company.
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Analysts speculated at the time that the move was part of an orderly transition eventually leading to Eckert's retirement. Even before taking over as chief executive, Stockton was in charge of the daily operations of Mattel as chief operating officer.
Eckert, 58, came aboard Mattel in 2000 as chairman and chief executive after working as president and chief executive of packaged foods company Kraft Foods Inc. He will leave the board on Dec. 31.
Stockton, who has worked closely with Eckert in the past, is expected to stick with the same strategy of aggressive international expansion, reinvigorating existing brands and making toys tied to popular kids' movies.
The news comes at the beginning of the crucial holiday season when Mattel can rack up to 40% of its annual sales.
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