Mattel Inc.'s embattled chief executive Jill Barad resigned Thursday after coming under fire for months for failing to revive falling sales and profits at the world's biggest
Her departure comes as the El Segundo, Calif.-based Mattel
reported a steep loss for the fourth quarter, disappointing Wall
Street analysts for the third consecutive quarter.
Barad was under intense pressure for months from investors and
Mattel's board of directors to explain big losses at the company's
newly acquired Learning Company software division and other
troubles at Mattel.
With her resignation, the board of directors will take charge of
the company to oversee operations and search for a new CEO. The
board appointed two of its own members to leadership rolls, picking
William Rollnick as acting chairman and Ronald Loeb as acting CEO.
"I think they need to look themselves in the eyes, look at what
the problems are with this company and really try to figure them
out," said Sean McGowan, a toy analyst at the investment firm
Gerard Klauer Mattison.
For the quarter ended Dec. 31, Mattel reported a net loss of
$18.4 million, or 4 cents a share, compared with profits of $86.7
million, or 22 cents a share, in the same period a year ago.
Analysts surveyed by First Call/Thomson Financial had expected
the company to earn 25 cents a share.
Sales for the quarter were $1.77 billion, down from $1.82
billion a year ago.
Mattel shares, which surged 14 percent Wednesday on speculation
that Barad was on her way out, slipped 6 cents Thursday to $11.75
on the New York Stock Exchange. Word of the resignation came in the
final moments of trading on the Big Board.
Disappointing results have pushed Mattel's stock down by more
than 60 percent from its high of $30.31 in April.