Hasbro CEO Brian Goldner Dies at Age 58

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The toy company said a few days ago it was taking a leave of absence for medical care

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Hasbro did not disclose the cause of death.

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“On behalf of the Hasbro family, we extend our deepest, heartfelt condolences to his wife, daughter and the entire family,” said board member Rich Stoddart, who was named Interim CEO of Hasbro over the weekend.

Mr. Goldner dressed and acted as a brilliant corporate leader. Still, he was undoubtedly a toy executive. His cellphone voice-mail message was recorded by the Transformers character Optimus Prime, and he had one of the original suits donned by White Ranger from the Power Rangers.

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His death left the Pawtucket, RI, company, which has a market value of about $12 billion, in the hands of Lt. to navigate sales strategies and supply-chain challenges during the make-or-break times of the year.

At an industry event last month, Mr. Goldner said Hasbro has enough inventory for the holiday season.

Mr. Goldner began his career in marketing and the toy industry at Bandai America Inc., where, under close friend and mentor Haim Saban, he helped translate characters from the Power Rangers franchise into toys.

He joined Hasbro in 2000, and became CEO in May 2008. He was the first outsider to lead the company, After a series of family members and a longtime employee, Monopoly is best known for its board games, Nerf Guns and Transformers.

Under its watch, Hasbro developed what became known as the Brand Blueprint, which focused on developing strong story lines and entertainment around the company’s myriad brands to promote sales of toys, games and other merchandise. did.

He forged close ties with Hollywood and pushed Hasbro into the big-screen films launched under the Transformers and GI Joe franchises. Hasbro wins coveted license for Walt Disney Co.

Kay Disney Princess characters and toys tie to the media company’s Marvel and Star Wars franchises.

Mr Goldner led the 2019 acquisition of Entertainment One Ltd for $4 billion, a production studio that also owns Peppa Pig and other children’s properties., Betting big on entertainment aimed at young children.

In a note to Hasbro staff on Sunday, he told officials to keep going with his plan.

“Hasbro’s future couldn’t be brighter, thank you all – the best team in the business,” wrote Mr. Goldner. “Let’s continue to supercharge Blueprint as we build Hasbro into the world’s leading play and entertainment company.”

Hasbro’s shares have had an overall return of over 335% since the end of May 2008, compared to a return of nearly 310% for the S&P 500 index and 72% for rival Mattel Inc..

According to Dow Jones Market Data Group.

During his tenure at Hasbro, Mattel cycled through several CEO and strategic changes. In 2017, Mr. Goldner discovered a possible takeover of the Barbie maker, but gave up the chase soon after.

In recent years, Mattel has been copying some of Hasbro’s strategy by expanding into entertainment and revisiting its manufacturing footprint. Hasbro has outsourced most of its production, while Mattel still owns and runs factories around the world.

In addition to running Hasbro, Mr. Goldner operates ViacomCBS Inc. was a member of the board.

He previously worked with Molson Coors Brewing and retailer Gap Inc. served on the board of.

Mr. Goldner grew up in Long Island, NY and attended Dartmouth College, where he studied politics. In addition to a home in Rhode Island, Mr. Goldner spent time at a home in Nantucket, Mass., where he enjoyed playing tennis, stand-up paddling, and hiking.

He is survived by his wife, Barbara Goldner, a social worker and nurse, and daughter, Brooke. The couple’s son Brandon died in 2015, when he was 23, from an accidental heroin overdose. The couple spoke publicly about their son’s death and testified before the Rhode Island governor’s Overdose Prevention and Intervention Task Force.

“I know that if he were sitting there – sitting right in front of me, sitting next to me – he would say ‘People should know what happened,'” Mr. Goldner told the Providence Journal in 2016.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Mr. Goldner enjoyed the fact that families were using his company and other board games to fill their time and connect with each other and hoped that things would return to normal. Will continue

“People don’t want to lose sight of the idea that they were able to bring their children and families together for so much laughter and joy,” he told the Journal in an interview earlier this year.

—Steven Russolillo contributed to this article.

Write to Paul Ziobro at [email protected]

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