Observations from a toy industry veteran..

Laughably, my A Level results 30 years ago spelled CEO: C for English, E for History and an O-Level grade for Economics. CEO. Chief Executive Officer.
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Hardly the kind of office I achieved in my career, but one that has made a man in the toy industry the 16th highest paid CEO in corporate America.

Based on a compensation formula which adds up salary, perks, bonuses, preferential interest rates on pay set aside for later and company estimates for the value of stock options and stock awards on the day they were granted last year, Hasbro’s Brian Goldner earned $23 million in 2010, up a staggering 196 per cent on 2009. 

Of course, Goldner is a professional CEO whereas there are three self-made toy CEOs in the UK who have made the grade in Nick Austin at Vivid, Richard King at Character Options and Peter Brown at Flair. Some of their companies are now PLCs but they were the ones who started them – a very different career path to Goldner who has been with Hasbro for 11 years and became the company’s president and CEO in 2008. He signed a new contract in March 2010 that provided him with additional stock awards as an incentive for him to remain with the company until 2014. A nice set of golden handcuffs in any business.

So, the next time you find yourself having to defend yourself for choosing a career in an industry that many people see as a bit lightweight or throwaway, you’d do well to use the example of 47 year-old Goldner as the highly lucrative pinnacle of toy managerial excellence. 

Goldner actually entered the toy industry via Bandai who had lured him away from a role at JWT’s entertainment division, which is where this little tale comes full circle. JWT Advertising is actually owned by WPP, the world’s biggest advertising group, whose founder and CEO is Sir Martin Sorrell who went to the same school as... me.

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