Tuesday, November 04, 2008

LEGO Legend Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen to Be Inducted Into the Toy Hall of Fame

NEW YORK, NY, October 31, 2007 – The third generation of the LEGO Family and principal shareholder, Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen has been named the 2008 Toy Industry Hall of Fame inductee. The announcement was made today by Carter Keithley, president of Toy Industry Association, Inc. (TIA), sponsor of the event, and Alan Hassenfeld, Toy Industry Hall of Fame Committee Chairman. Established in 1984, the Toy Industry Hall of Fame recognizes individuals who have significantly contributed to the growth and success of the toy industry.

The ceremony inducting Mr. Kristiansen will take place as part of the eighth annual T.O.T.Y. (Toy of the Year) Awards event, set for the evening of Saturday, February 16, 2008 in Manhattan at Chelsea Piers/Pier 60. Mr. Kristiansen will be on-hand to accept the award in person.

“LEGO revolutionized the way kids play and build with blocks,” said Alan Hassenfeld, Toy Industry Hall of Fame Committee Chairman. “We are honored to have Kjeld join many other industry icons in the Toy Hall of Fame.”

Kjeld’s passion for the LEGO play experience and brand started at a young age. Grandson of the company founder, Ole Kirk Christiansen, he demonstrated a natural talent for creativity as a boy, often inspiring and testing new LEGO® model concepts and their building instructions. He and his sisters also appeared on many of the company’s packages and marketing materials.

Kjeld is a company pioneer in projects and programs that have made the LEGO brand one of the strongest among families with children around the world. He introduced the idea of creating a system within the LEGO System, and was the driving force behind grouping LEGO products into themes and product lines to sharpen the identity of the brand. He led the introduction of the first LEGO figures to add role play to LEGO building in 1974, leading to the contemporary and iconic LEGO minifigure in 1978. Kjeld launched the brand into the virtual world in 1996 with the introduction of LEGO.com, endorsed collaboration with MIT to develop LEGO MINDSTORMS® in 1998 and opened the door to licensing with the company’s first constructible entertainment property – Star Wars™ – in 1999.

In 1979, he was appointed president and CEO of the LEGO Group. In 2004, he stepped down as CEO to focus on his role as owner of the LEGO Group and Vice-Chairman of the Board, while maintaining his role as Chairman of the Board of KIRKBI A/S, LEGO Holding A/S and the LEGO Foundation. Additionally, he is an active member of the company’s Brand & Innovation Board, setting the overall strategic direction of the LEGO brand and the development of new business ideas, so he remains very close to the development of the company’s business and products.

Kjeld’s contributions to the creative development of children around the world have been recognized many times over. In 1994, Kjeld was appointed a Knight of Denmark's Dannebrog Order. In 1996, he received The Freedom Prize from the Max Schmidheiny Foundation, Switzerland, the "Distinguished Family Business Award" from the International Institute for Management and Development (IMD), Switzerland, and the Moran (Peony) insignia of the Order of Civil Merit by the Korean Government. In 2005, he received the FIRST Founder’s Award from Dean Kamen for his work in inspiring children’s interest in science and technology through creative LEGO play via the FIRST LEGO League program.

Born in 1947 in Billund, Denmark – home town of the LEGO brick, Kjeld and his wife, Camilla, live in Denmark and have three children.

About the T.O.T.Y. Awards
The T.O.T.Y. Awards were conceived to honor the best toys developed by the international toy industry for consumers in North America. The Awards include eleven industry award categories, and one industry recognition category designed to recognize the best toys and children's entertainment, as well as outstanding individuals, companies and team achievements. The T.O.T.Y. Awards ceremony also includes a fundraising campaign to benefit the Toy Industry Foundation (TIF), the philanthropic and educational organization representing the North American toy industry. The Foundation's mission is to make a difference in the lives of children in need, bringing them joy, happiness and comfort through the experience of toys and play.

About TIA
TIA is the trade association for North American producers and importers of toys, games and entertainment products for the youth market. TIA owns and manages Toy Fair, ToyCon, TIA’s Annual Meeting and Conference; and the Fall Toy Preview. Visit the TIA website at: www.toyassociation.org.