Carter Keithley has announced that he will retire as president and CEO of the Toy Industry Association (TIA) effective April 30, 2015, after nearly a decade of leadership with the trade organization. As reported by the TIA, he announced his retirement on May 7, at the TIA Board of Directors meeting held in Scottsdale, Ariz.
“My years as chief executive of the Toy Industry Association were the highlight of my 40-year career as an association executive,” stated Keithley. “My only regret is that I did not come to TIA as a younger man able to sustain the pace and workload for a longer time. As I enter my 70th year of life, it is time for me to pass the baton to someone with fresh energy, vision, and ambition, so that TIA can continue to serve its members and support the growth and health of the toy industry.”
Keithley assumed his role in May 2006 during a period of upheaval for TIA and the industry. The Toy Center Buildings, located in midtown Manhattan, were closing after serving for many years as the site of New York Toy Fair. Barely a year into Keithley’s term, the toy industry was faced with yet another crisis when hundreds of playthings were recalled by the U.S. government.
During his time at the association, the annual budget of the organization grew from less than $14 million to nearly $18 million, and TIA’s membership base skyrocketed from 470 members to more than 750 companies, including manufacturers, retailers, sales reps, licensors, toy inventors, and more. An office in Washington, D.C., was also established to accommodate a robust external affairs team comprised of nine industry advocates and technical/safety specialists.
John Gessert, chairman of the TIA Board, has appointed TIA Board vice chairman David Hargreaves of Hasbro Inc., and immediate past TIA chairman Soren Torp Laursen of Lego Systems Inc., to co-chair a transition committee that will work with a professional search firm to hire a new executive for TIA.