Contact: Adrienne Appell
 Toy Industry Association
 Office: 646.520.4863
 Mobile:  646.207.3724

Toy Industry Association Elects Leadership at Annual Business Meeting

NEW YORK | February 14, 2012 – At its Annual Business Meeting held earlier today, the Toy Industry Association (TIA) announced the election of two new members to the TIA Board of Directors, marking the first-ever retail executive and sales representative to join the TIA Board. The meeting also saw the chairmanship gavel pass to Soren Torp Laursen of LEGO Systems from retiring Board Chairman Bryan Stockton of Mattel.

Julia Fitzgerald, Chief Digital Engagement Officer, Toys and Sporting Goods, Sears Holdings Corporation and Jeffrey Kennis, President, Enchanted Moments, Inc. 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 through 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 organization,” 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.”

The Board then announced its new leadership for the coming year. Retiring Chairman Bryan Stockton, CEO of Mattel, Inc. passed the gavel to Soren Torp Laursen, President of LEGO Systems who 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. As Immediate Past Chairman, Stockton becomes an advisor to the governance body.

Rounding out the Executive Committee are David Hargreaves of Hasbro, who was elected Secretary-Treasurer, as well as Chuck Scothon, General Manger and SVP of Mattel, Digital Networks and Bob Wann, CEO of Patch Products, who 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 currently underway at the Jacob K. Javits Convention in New York City.

About the Toy Industry Association (TIA)
TIA is the not-for-profit trade association for producers and importers of toys and youth entertainment products sold in North America, representing more than 550 companies who account for approximately 85% of domestic toy sales.  Toy safety is the number one priority for the toy industry. TIA has a long history of leadership in toy safety including development of the first comprehensive toy safety standard more than 30 years ago, and working with government, consumers and industry on ongoing programs to ensure safe and fun play. For more information, please visit, or