New York, NY | February 18, 2019 – The Toy Association announced the election of four new members to its Board of Directors for two-year terms expiring in February 2021, during the Association’s Annual General Meeting, earlier today. The meeting was open to all members of the organization and took place during Toy Fair New York at the Jacob K. Javits Center in New York City.
During the meeting, four candidates were elected to serve their first terms on The Toy Association’s Board: John Frascotti, president and COO, Hasbro; Aaron Muderick, president, Crazy Aaron's Puttyworld; Michael Rinzler, co-president and founding partner, Wicked Cool Toys; and Steve Totzke, chief commercial officer, Mattel. The Toy Association’s Board of Directors Nominating Committee chose to leave one board seat vacant for future consideration.
“I would like to welcome our new Board Members whose collective expertise and experience will deeply enhance the value the Association brings to its members,” said Bob Wann, chairman of The Toy Association and Chief Play Monster of PlayMonster, LLC. “This is a time of great change and opportunity for our members. I look forward to hearing the diverse perspectives and contributions from our new representatives on how the Association can continue to innovate and successfully operate in a global toy landscape.”
Barbara Finigan, executive vice president and chief legal officer, Hasbro, Inc. will depart the Executive Committee and Board. Board members Bruce Raiffe, president, GUND, and Richard Barry, president and CEO, TRU Kids, Inc. have concluded their terms. In addition, Nancy Zwiers, chief marketing officer, Spin Master Corp. will depart the Board, while Eva Lorenz, general manager, toys and games, Amazon has concluded her term of service on the Chairman’s Advisory Committee.
The Toy Association’s Board Executive Committee elected by the Board Members on February 15 will include: Chairman Wann; Skip Kodak, senior vice president, Americas, LEGO Systems, Inc. as vice chairman; Geoffrey Walker, president and CEO, KidKraft, Inc. as the Association’s secretary-treasurer (previously Walker served as acting secretary-treasurer); and Jennifer Caveza, senior vice president, toys, Nickelodeon Consumer Products, and Tim Kilpin, formerly of Activision, as members at large. Toy Association president & CEO Steve Pasierb will serve in an ex officio role.
Wann named five executives to the Chairman’s Advisory Committee 2019-2020: former Association chairman John Gessert, president & CEO, American Plastic Toys; former Association chairman Soren Torp Laursen, who sits on the board of Mattel, Inc.; Ashley Mady, director of brand development, Basic Fun!, and president, Women in Toys, Licensing & Entertainment (WIT); Richard Barry, president and CEO, TRU Kids, Inc.; and Anne Carrihill, general manager, toys and games, Amazon.
The meeting included remarks from Pasierb, who spoke of The Toy Association’s continued achievements to protect and promote members’ businesses during 2018, despite a challenging retail environment and threats of tariffs on toys, and highlighted key aspects of the Association’s 2019 action plan. Geoff Walker of KidKraft in his role as secretary/treasurer, provided an overview of The Toy Association’s 2018 fiscal results, 2019 budget, and continued healthy and sustainable financial position.
“Together with our new and returning Board Members – all who possess significant experience and leverage in the toy community – the Association is certain to effectively continue its essential work to protect and promote both our member companies and the broader toy manufacturing and retailer community,” said Toy Association CEO Steve Pasierb. “A deep note of gratitude to our departing Board Members who have selflessly donated their time, ensuring The Toy Association thrives as a strong, productive global organization.”
Founded in 1916, The Toy Association™, Inc. is the not-for-profit trade association representing all businesses involved in creating and delivering toys and youth entertainment products for kids of all ages. The Toy Association leads the health and growth of the U.S. toy industry, which has an annual U.S. economic impact of $110.9 billion, and its 1000+ members drive the annual $28 billion U.S. domestic toy market. The Toy Association serves as the industry’s voice on the developmental benefits of play, and promotes play’s positive impact on childhood development to consumers and media. The organization has a long history of leadership in toy safety, having helped develop the first comprehensive toy safety standard more than 40 years ago, and remains committed to working with medical experts, government, consumers, and industry on ongoing programs to ensure safe and fun play.
As a global leader, The Toy Association produces the world-renowned North American International Toy Fair and Fall Toy Preview; advocates on behalf of members around the world; sustains the Canadian The Toy Association; acts as secretariat for the International Council of Toy Industries and International Toy Industry CEO Roundtable; and chairs the committee that reviews and revises America’s widely emulated ASTM F963 toy safety standard.