TIA elects two new members to board of directors

Lego's Soren Torp Laursen also named as new Chairman.
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At its Annual Business Meeting, the Toy Industry Association (TIA) elected two new members to the board of directors, marking the first retail executive and sales representative to join the TIA Board.

The meeting also saw the chairmanship pass to Soren Torp Laursen of Lego Systems as Bryan Stockton of Mattel retired from the position.

Julia Fitzgerald, chief digital engagement officer, toys and sporting goods, Sears Holdings Corporation and Jeffrey Kennis, president, Enchanted Moments, were recommended by the nominating committee and elected at the meeting to become the first members of the retailer and independent sales rep communities to serve on the TIA Board. Fitzgerald and Kennis will each serve their first term until 2014.

“A year ago, TIA’s membership approved a new set of bylaws that expanded our organization to include licensors, retailers, sales reps and others, with the goal in mind of making TIA a more inclusive organisation,” said TIA president Carter Keithley.

“Today I am pleased to welcome to our board of directors two new members from among these categories, who will now have a voice at the TIA table.”

Soren Torp Laursen, president of Lego Systems will take over as chairman of the board for a one-year term. Laursen had previously served as vice chairman of the board.

John Gessert, president and CEO of American Plastic Toys, returns to the board of directors and assumes the role of vice chairman. Stockton becomes an advisor to the governance body.

David Hargreaves of Hasbro was elected secretary-treasurer. Meanwhile Chuck Scothon, general manger and SVP of Mattel, Digital Networks and Bob Wann, CEO of Patch Products, join as the newest members of the committee.

“The Toy Industry Association is proud to welcome the newest members of its volunteer leadership team,” said Keithley.

“The advice, counsel and perspectives offered by these industry executives – especially those who represent small and mid-sized companies – are essential as the association crafts its advocacy policies and implements its strategic objectives related to the economy, marketplace dynamics, legislation, regulation and standards, and technology and trade.”

The annual business meeting included remarks by Keithley and former secretary-treasurer John Gessert, who announced that the association had achieved one of its strategic goals by restoring its financial reserves well ahead of its originally anticipated timeline.

Ed Desmond, TIA executive vice president of external affairs, provided the audience with an update on TIA’s advocacy initiatives.

Open to both members and non-members, the 2012 TIA Annual Business Meeting was held in conjunction with the 109th American International Toy Fair.

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