New Mattel CEO playing catch-up with rivals after four down years

Mattel, home of Barbie and Thomas the Tank Engine, has struggled for years trying to manage its way out of its problems.

Enter Ynon Kreiz, 53, the El Segundo-based toymaker’s fourth chief executive officer in four years. Investors hope he can get Mattel back in the game of making cool toys and, like its rivals Hasbro Inc. and Lego A/S, develop movies, TV shows and online content to sell them.

In a hint of what may be coming, Kreiz told employees last week at a town hall at Mattel’s...

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