The Kristiansen family is passing the reigns from one generation to the next, with Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen stepping down from the LEGO Group’s board.
Next month, Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen will step down from the LEGO Group’s board. The third generation owner and former CEO will leave Thomas, his son, as deputy chairman. Thomas will represent the fourth generation of the Kristiansen family on the company’s board.
“For several years we have been preparing carefully for how we wish to continue to maintain active family ownership across generations. Now, the time has come for the next step,” Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen told the Financial Times. He will remain chairman of Kirkbi, the company that manages the Kristiansen family investments.
Preparations on the generational shift have been under way for some time, with Thomas Kristiansen joining the board in 2007 and taking on deputy chair in 2016.
Kjeld was CEO from 1979 until 2004, but when the LEGO Group underwent its most difficult period and was on the brink of bankruptcy, he stepped down and a from outside the family was appointed. Despite that, the Kristiansens maintained an active role by appointing one person who would be the voice of the family, “the most active owner”, who would select the CEO and board of directors.
“What Thomas and his sisters are inheriting is something that is much more global, much bigger and more complex than Kjeld. We don’t think we have found the Holy Grail of family ownership. But it works for this family,” said a senior LEGO official.
Going forward, the Kristiansen family intends to provide the chair for Kirkbi and the LEGO Foundation, but have an outside heading the LEGO Group’s board. Thomas Kristiansen and Jorgen Vig Knudstorp, CEO of the LEGO Brand Group, are interviewing candidates to replace Kjeld on the board.