CEO Höpfner terminates contract / Playmobil under new management / Consultants to accelerate reorientation
After 26 years with the company, the past seven of them as CEO of the Horst Brandstätter Group, Steffen Höpfner has prematurely terminated his contract with the holding company of toy manufacturer Playmobil (Zirndorf, Germany; The company did not give a reason. It is obvious, however, that the termination of the contract was initiated by Höpfner (57), because the advisory board – as a spokesperson explained in response to a inquiry – reportedly tried to change his mind. The company is not commenting on a possible successor for now. The board now consists of Höpfner’s deputy René Feser, as well as Bahri Kurter and Matthias Fauser.

Despite the company's assurances that everything is fine, uncertainty reigns again (Photo: Playmobil)

The board firmly refuted reports that Höpfner’s departure had to do with, among other things, criticism of the management by the works council: “The accusations have no basis in fact,” the spokesperson said. “We have a functioning board of directors and functioning business units.” However, this has not always been the case in recent years.

Related: German toy manufacturer reports decline in sales

It is possible that the change at the top is connected to the difficult waters in which the group – which comprises the toy manufacturer and leisure parks as well as plant pot specialist Lechuza – has found itself for some time. For the 2021/22 financial year (31 March), the group reported a 2.8% decline in turnover to EUR 736 mn, which Playmobil was primarily responsible for. However, the amusement parks in particular recorded heavy losses during the Covid-19 period. Höpfner subsequently announced a transformation process. Figures for the past business year are not yet available.

However, this reorientation, which has the primary aim of getting the ailing Playmobil ready to face the competition again – which showed significantly better figures for the same year – is likely to still take some time. “The process has been supported by a consulting firm since the spring of 2023,” the spokesperson reported, “results and measures are expected in autumn.” It is unclear to what extent Kurter, who has only been in office as head of the Playmobil division since April, will have any influence on this. 
31.07.2023 [253313-0]
Published on 31.07.2023
Playmobil: Vorstandschef Höpfner gehtGerman version of this article...

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