LEGO CEO talks about the 2019 results, a successful attitude and his childhood

On the day that the LEGO Group’s 2019 results have been released, Niels B. Christiansen speaks about how they have been achieved in difficult market conditions.

The LEGO Group’s CEO, Niels B. Christiansen, has spoken at length about the newly released 2019 results and his leadership style. In an audio interview shared on YouTube, the LEGO leader has discussed his reaction to the financial results, that have shown the company continuing to grow in a toy market that had contracted.

“The ultimate highlight I think is these results,” he says. “The fact we are at the same level, the record high level we had in 14-15 under very different circumstances. The fact that we are there now, under these market conditions, achieving what we are achieving, that makes me very proud as a member of the organisation. I think everybody has worked hard to make that happen.”

While revenue is greater than it was in 2015, profits are still down on that year. Christiansen does emphasise throughout the interview that long-term investment is important for the business, with the Kristiansen family keen for a long-term view to be taken.

Asked why the company has been able to grow at a point when the wider industry is facing difficulties, he puts it down to the LEGO Group making things happen:

“We are taking our destiny in our own hands, if I can put it like that, where we have not just accepted that the market is difficult or we were not as successful with LEGO Movie 2 as we thought or we had a product we couldn’t launched, we turned it around, I think we are asking ourselves the question, ‘okay we see some headwind, what does it take to get there? What is it we need to do in gap closing or mitigation or new ideas? Having the positive attitude, if we had a bit more funding what could we do with it? This destiny thing I think is important.”

As well as speaking specifically about the annual results and how these have been achieved, the CEO talks more broadly about leadership during the conversation. He credits his upbringing with influencing his leadership style:

“I have always been trusted … by my parents, to do stuff and control things. I was never told, ‘you have to be home by 10 o’clock’. It didn’t mean that I came home in the middle of the night, but I could choose, and I remember feeling really privileged in a sense that I didn’t have to leave on the minute if we were in the middle of a football match or something like that. This feeling of being trusted to do something and being trusted to make a decent decision … I also think it finds its way into how we lead as leaders.”

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Graham was the Editor up until November 2020. He has plenty of experience working on LEGO related projects. He has contributed to various websites and publications on topics including niche hobbies, the toy industry and education. Follw Graham on Twitter @grahamh100.

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