ICTI CARE Foundation Names Carmel Giblin Its President and CEO

The International Council of Toy Industries(ICTI) CARE Foundation has named Carmel Giblin as its new president and CEO. ICTI CARE promotes ethical manufacturing, fair labor treatment, and employee health and safety in the global toy and children’s product supply chain. Giblin will officially assume this new role on February 2.

For the past five years, Giblin has been the CEO of Sedex, a not-for-profit membership organization dedicated to improvements in ethical and responsible business practices in global supply chains.

Fisher-Price Appoints Vinnie D’Alleva to SVP, Steve LaBella to Licensed Properties

FisherPriceFisher-Price Inc. has appointed Vinnie D’Alleva as senior vice president (SVP) at Fisher-Price Friends. D’Alleva will be responsible for the Thomas & Friends brand, as well as other HIT Entertainment properties such as Bob the Builder. He has more than 25 years of marketing experience, a majority of it spent in the toy and juvenile product space.

In addition, Steve LaBella, who currently seves as senior vice president of Fisher-Price Preschool, will also assume the additional role of being responsible for product development for licensed properties, including Dora and Friends: Into the City! and Jake and the Neverland Pirates.

Kevin Bacon Visit a Highlight of Neighborhood Toy Store Day

kevin baconShoppers at Kidding Around! toy store in Greenwich Village weren’t kidding last Saturday when they rushed home to tell friends and family they were one degree closer to actor Kevin Bacon.

To mark the American Specialty Toy Retailing Association’s Neighborhood Toy Store Day, Bacon stopped by Kidding Around! and took a turn as a cashier and a gift wrapper. Bacon’s charity, sixdegrees.org, connects celebrities with socially-conscious causes that can use a boost from celebrity events or drop-ins.

 

Laura Robinson to Host ChiTAG’s Toy and Fashion Show

LauraRobinsonProducer, actor, and game inventor Laura Robinson will host playCHIC, the innovative play-inspired fashion show, at the upcoming Chicago Toy & Game Fair. In addition, Robinson will serve as a keynote speaker at the Toy & Game Inventor Conference. Both events are part of Chicago Toy & Game Group’s (ChiTAG) annual week of toy and industry-related events.

PlayCHIC combines fashion with top toys during ChiTAG’s Chicago Toy & Game Week. In its third year, the runway show will pair couture designers with familiar toy and game brands to pioneer unexpected and creative designs.

Robinson is the co-owner of Out & About Productions LLC, partial creator of, and contributing producer for Celebrity Name Game, and previously starred in shows like Night Heat, Cheers, and Frasier. As a toy and game inventor, Robinson co-created the board game Balderdash in 1984, which has since has sold more than twenty million copies worldwide.

The 2014 playCHIC show will take place on November 20 at Alhambra Palace Restaurant in Chicago.

Neil Friedman to Serve as Next President and CEO of Alex Brands

AlexBrands.Copy Alex Brands has named toy industry veteran Neil Friedman as its president and CEO. Friedman, who joined Alex Brands’ board of directors earlier this year, was most recently president of the U.S. division at Toys “R” Us. He was also previously president at Mattel Brands, Fisher-Price Brands, Tyco Preschool, and MCA/Universal Merchandising. Friedman is a member of the Toy Industry Hall of Fame and the International Licensing Industry Merchandiser’s Association’s Hall of Fame.

“This is a unique opportunity to work with some of the most iconic and highly recognizable brands in the industry,” says Friedman. “In the time that I have been associated with Alex Brands, I have been extremely impressed by the company’s accomplishments, vision, and growth plans. I am most looking forward to using my experience and expertise to help this company realize the incredible opportunities that lie before it.”

Antony Hicks Joins Leapfrog as Chief International Officer

LEAPFROG ENTERPRISES LOGOAntony Hicks has joined LeapFrog Enterprises Inc. as chief international officer. In this role, he will be responsible for providing strategic leadership and management to international operations as LeapFrog grows its current international businesses and extends its global reach through entering strategic new markets.

Hicks has extensive experience in developing businesses in Asia. Prior to joining LeapFrog, Mr. Hicks was chief executive officer, Indochina, at The Carlsberg Group where he was responsible for driving market share across the key countries in the region.

Toys “R” Us Bolsters Leadership Team to Drive TRU Transformation Strategy

toysrusToys “R” Us Inc. has appointed a number of proven executives to key leadership roles, as the company continues to position its business for long-term profitable growth.

Debbie Lentz has been named senior vice president, chief supply chain officer, with responsibility for U.S. distribution and customs compliance, global importing and exporting, fleet operations, and domestic transportation. She will report to Hank Mullany, president, Toys “R” Us, U.S. In this role, Lentz will oversee inventory planning and allocation, as well as e-commerce fulfillment, while driving efforts to significantly improve in-stock levels both in stores and online. She will also lead logistics strategy development for the company’s international markets and efforts to improve global supply chain efficiencies, reporting in this capacity to Antonio Urcelay, chairman and CEO of Toys “R” Us Inc.

Lentz most recently held the position of senior vice president, customer service and logistics, at Kraft Foods Group. Prior to Kraft, she worked for many years in logistics operations at Nabisco Foods Group. [Read more...]

Jeffrey Dunn Named President and CEO, Sesame Workshop

sesame-workshopVincent Mai, chairman of the board of trustees of Sesame Workshop, announced today the appointment of Jeffrey Dunn as president and CEO of Sesame Workshop, effective September 29. Dunn, formerly the president and CEO of Hit Entertainment, will succeed Mel Ming, who announced his retirement earlier this year.

Dunn currently serves as a 2014 Advanced Leadership Initiative Fellow at Harvard University with a focus on media and education. Previously, he served as president and CEO of Hit Entertainment from 2008 until 2012. Before joining Hit, Dunn served as group COO of the Nickelodeon Networks group and the president of Nickelodeon Film and Enterprises, where, among other things, he built Nickelodeon’s international networks business and oversaw the growth of Blue’s Clues, SpongeBob SquarePants, and Dora the Explorer into three of the world’s largest licensed property brands.

On the Hunt with Jordan Hembrough

When you step inside Hollywood Heroes in Westwood, N.J., you can literally smell the nostalgia (for those of you who are unfamiliar, nostalgia smells similar to dust-covered cardboard and childhood memories—but like, in a good way). In the collectible toy shop, bright lights beam down on glass cases displaying superhero relics with more than 40 years under their utility belts, making these toys anything but child’s play.

Owner of Hollywood Heroes and star of the reality TV show Toy Hunter, Jordan Hembrough poses with a plush version of himself.

Owner of the shop and star of the Travel Channel series Toy Hunter, Jordan Hembrough is an expert in the art of toy collecting, with more than 25 years of professional experience dealing toys. However, toys were always an integral part of Hembrough’s life. From schoolyard selling, Hembrough entered the big-time after college, when he secured a job as a buyer for StarLog, a chain of science-fiction-focused retail stores. Despite a lack of business background, Hembrough eventually went on to launch his own company, Hollywood Heroes. “I had the passion, and I think sometimes passion will drive you more than a business plan,” he says. [Read more...]

Dan Sugrue Joins Jazwares LLC as UK Sales Director

jazwaresDan Sugrue has joined Jazwares LLC as its UK sales director, and will lead the London-based sales force at retailers across the region. Most recently, Sugrue served as business manager for Flair Leisure Products Ltd.

The news follows the recent announcement of an investment by Allegheny Capital Corporation, and marks the company’s continued global growth and firm commitment to the expansion of its UK operation.