NEW YORK, NY | February 19, 2018 – At its Annual General Meeting open to all Toy Association member representatives held earlier today, The Toy Association announced the election of five new members to its Board of Directors for two-year terms expiring in February 2020. The meeting also saw the chairmanship gavel pass to Bob Wann, Chief Play Monster of PlayMonster, LLC, from retiring board chairman David Hargreaves of Hasbro, Inc. The meeting was held at the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center during the 115th North American International Toy Fair.
Wann has more than 35 years of experience at both Fortune 500 and entrepreneurial/start-up companies in the U.S and internationally. Through strategic brand and product development, combined with creative marketing, he has overseen the development and growth of some of the most recognized brands in toys and consumer packaged goods, and is widely recognized as a creative thinker and marketer, having developed award-winning programs such as Family Game Night and Get Together Games.
Wann joined The Toy Association’s Board of Directors in 2010. He currently serves on the Executive Committee and on The Toy Foundation’s Board of Directors. Wann was formerly the Association’s secretary-treasurer and served on numerous committees, including the audit, investment, and PlayCon committees.
“It is a great honor and responsibility to be elected chair of The Toy Association,” Wann says. “I look forward to working on enhancing the value the Association brings to its members as they continue to innovate and operate successfully within the global toy landscape.”
During the meeting, four candidates were elected to serve their first terms on The Toy Association’s Board: Michael Keaton, president, Schleich North America; Tim Kilpin, president & CEO, consumer products division of Activision Blizzard; Andrew Quartin, CEO, Thames & Kosmos, LLC; and Andrew Weiner, president, Toy’n around. In addition, Smith Holland Jr., president and CEO, Crayola, LLC, has been elected to his first full term, after joining the Board in 2017 to fill a vacant seat.
Seven board members were re-elected for a second term: Kathleen Campisano, vice president, Specialty, Barnes & Noble, Inc.; Jennifer Caveza, senior vice president, Toys, Nickelodeon Consumer Products; Charlie Emby, co-president, Just Play, LLC; Barbara Finigan, executive vice president and chief legal officer, Hasbro, Inc.; Skip Kodak, senior vice president, Americas, LEGO Systems, Inc.; Geoffrey Walker, executive vice president and chief strategic technology officer, Mattel, Inc.; and Nancy Zwiers, chief marketing officer, Spin Master Corp.
Wann named four executives to the Chairman’s Advisory Committee: former chairman John Gessert, president & CEO, American Plastic Toys; former chairman Soren Torp Laursen; Ashley Mady, president, Brandberry, Inc., head of brand development, Basic Fun!, and president, Women in Toys, Licensing & Entertainment; and Eva Lorenz, GM, Toys and Games, Amazon.
The Toy Association’s new Executive Committee will include: Wann; Skip Kodak of LEGO Systems, Inc. as vice chairman; Richard Barry, executive vice president and global chief merchandising officer, Toys“R”Us, Inc., as the Association’s new secretary-treasurer; Hasbro’s Barbara Finigan; Mattel’s Geoffrey Walker; and The Toy Association’s president & CEO Steve Pasierb in an ex officio role.
The meeting included remarks from Pasierb, who spoke of The Toy Association’s continued achievements on behalf of members and the business of toys during 2017, despite a challenging retail environment, as well as essential elements of the Association’s 2018 plans. Paul Vitale, executive vice president of finance and operations, provided an overview of The Toy Association’s healthy financial position.
“We are thrilled to have Bob Wann as our next chairman,” Pasierb says. “Bob’s boundless enthusiasm and love for the business of toys is both well-known and wonderfully infectious. His depth of experience and record of accomplishment across his career ensures he is able to envision the big picture for toy brands and our members of all types and sizes, from the largest to the smallest independent. With Bob Wann at the lead, together with our cadre of new and returning Board members – all with substantial experience and leverage in the toy community – the Association is certain to effectively continue its vital work to protect and promote our members.”
Former chairman David Hargreaves of Hasbro, Inc. and Shirley Price, The Toy Association’s former secretary-treasurer and president & COO, Funrise Toy Corporation, will depart the Executive Committee and Board. Board member Jeffrey Kennis, president, Enchanted Moments Inc. has concluded his third term, and William To, president, VTech Electronics North America, LLC will be departing the Board concurrent with his retirement. In addition, Al Verrecchia has concluded his term of service on the Association’s Advisory Committee, while Honorary Advisors Alan Hassenfeld, Hassenfeld Family Initiatives, and Neil Friedman, president & CEO, Alex Brands, also concluded their terms.
“We are thankful to David Hargreaves for his outstanding leadership as chairman and salute our other departing Board members who have selflessly donated their time to the industry,” adds Pasierb. “Their combined efforts and good counsel have contributed to our expanding global role and the strong organization we are today.”
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 $107.5 billion, and its 950+ members drive the annual $27 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 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.