Carter Keithley retires as Toy Industry Association president and CEO

News follows almost a decade of leadership of the US trade organisation.
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Carter Keithley is to retire from his role as president and CEO of the Toy Industry Association, effective April 30th 2015.

Keithley (pictured) has been at the helm of the US trade organisation for almost a decade. He announced his decision to retire on May 7th at the TIA Board of Directors meeting held in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Keithley assumed his role in May 2006 during a period of upheaval for TIA and the industry. The Toy Center Buildings, located in midtown Manhattan, were closing after serving for many years as the site of New York Toy Fair. Barely a year into his term, the toy industry was faced with yet another crisis when hundreds of toys were recalled by the US government.

During his time at the Association, the annual budget of the organisation grew from less than $14 million to nearly $18 million, and TIA’s membership base skyrocketed from 470 members to more than 750 companies, including manufacturers, retailers, sales reps, licensors, toy inventors and more.

An office in Washington, DC was also established to accommodate a robust external affairs team comprised of nine industry advocates and technical/safety specialists.

John Gessert, chairman of the TIA Board, has appointed TIA Board Vice Chairman David Hargreaves of Hasbro and Immediate Past TIA Chairman, Soren Torp Laursen of LEGO Systems, to co-chair a Transition Committee that will work with a professional search firm to hire a new executive for TIA.

“My years as chief executive of the Toy Industry Association were the highlight of my 40-year career as an association executive,” stated Keithley. “My only regret is that I did not come to TIA as a younger man able to sustain the pace and workload for a longer time.

"As I enter my seventieth year of life, it is time for me to pass the baton to someone with fresh energy, vision and ambition, so that TIA can continue to serve its members and support the growth and health of the toy industry.”

Gessert added: “TIA was fortunate to find the right executive to meet the organization’s needs at a time of particular stress and turmoil. Carter will be missed, and we are all grateful for his decade of work on behalf of the toy industry.”

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