What’s quite impressive of the global toy brand LEGO was that for its worldwide reach it never needed to go as a publicly trading company, but one that remained a true family business. To this day ownership of LEGO ultimately rests with the Kristiansen family of founder Ole Kirk Kristiansen.
In the latest development concerning the Kristiansen family, Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen has announced his departure from the board of directors for LEGO A/S effective next month. The now 71-year-old grandson of the original LEGO founder is leaving his son Thomas Kristiansen as deputy chairman of the board, again passing the family baton, generation to generation.
Kristiansen tells The Financial Times that his stepping down from the LEGO board of directors is part of the whole family’s procedure on maintaining generational ownership of the global toy company. With this step complete, the only position Kristiansen still holds is the chairmanship of their investment firm KIRKBI A/S.
His successor Thomas Kristiansen became a board member of LEGO back in 2007, and was appointed to the deputy chairmanship two years ago. His presence ensures the Kristiansen family retains a voice among the directors as “the most active owner.”
Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen took over as LEGO CEO following the death of his father Gotfried in 1979. He stepped down from active management of the company in 2004, replaced by the first non-family CEO of LEGO, Jørgen Vig Knudstorp. He himself was replaced by Niels B. Christiansen, though he remained chairman. Knudstorp and Thomas Kristiansen are now selecting candidates to replace Kjeld on the board.