Big changes are happening at the top of the LEGO Group, as Jørgen Vig Knudstorp – who has held the role since 2004 – has stepped down as CEO to take on a new role heading up the LEGO Brand Group. The Kirk Kristiansen family, who have owned the company since its inception, have determined that this new side of the company will protect and steer the brand in the years ahead.
Thomas Kirk Kristiansen said of the announcement:
‘Our family ownership is deeply rooted in the LEGO Idea, which is about learning and development through play and a unique, creative play system that offers endless possibilities. With our recent growth and globalisation come new and exciting opportunities for the brand, and we establish the LEGO Brand Group to look into these new opportunities.’
Responsibility for all aspects of the LEGO business will be headed by the LEGO Brand Group – the core business of the LEGO Group, LEGO Education and liaising about the LEGO brand with partners such as Merlin and the LEGO Foundation. Thomas Kirk Kristiansen will be working as the LEGO Brand Group’s deputy chair.
Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen, owner of the LEGO Group and Chairman of KIRKBI A/S (the company representing the Kristiansen family investments), said:
‘It has been very exciting to make these preparations for the future – not just for the next generation but also for generations to come. I am very pleased about the partnership between Thomas and Jørgen because I am convinced that their joint efforts and skills support our mission to inspire and develop the builders of tomorrow in the best possible way.’
The overall company, officially known as LEGO A/S, will see its Board of Directors nominate Knudstorp to Chairman of the Board in May 2017. Niels Jacobsen, present Chairman of the Board of Directors of LEGO A/S, will continue in his role as Deputy Chairman in KIRKBI A/S.
‘Over the past 12 years, Jørgen Vig Knudstorp has developed an outstanding knowledge and understanding of the opportunities and challenges for the LEGO Group and the LEGO brand. Now is the right time to use Jørgen’s capacity in a broader role. I look forward to continue working with Jørgen in the future and to continue my work with Kjeld and Thomas Kirk Kristiansen in the KIRKBI A/S Board of Directors.’
Commenting on his new role and the new entity, Jørgen Vig Knudstorp says:
‘I really look forward to this new challenge together with Thomas. I have enjoyed being the CEO of this great company, because I have a lifelong passion for the LEGO Idea. The role and the job have changed very much over these years, and this is the natural next step, as I am a firm believer in the value of active family ownership.’
With the speed of success and growth that the LEGO Group has seen over the past decade, it is likely that the shake-up intends to prepare the company for further growth and expansion plans in China.