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Mattel VP & Country Manager Paul Faulkner talks all things 2019, digital disruption and diversity

by Nick Hindhaugh

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Six Degrees Founding Director Nick Hindhaugh recently spoke with Mattel Vice President & Country Manager Paul Faulkner about all things 2019, digital disruption and diversity.


Paul, what is your view of the economic and political environment going into 2019?

I don’t feel like we have seen the full effect of the housing downturn on family balance sheets as yet and when we do, confidence will take a further hit. I think we are seeing the effects today via delay in larger purchasing decisions (cars, big toys, etc.) but I think this will start to trickle down into other categories (appliances, etc.).

“Affordable luxuries” will perhaps show resilience (clothing, toys, etc.) but it will be at a margin hit to retailers.

Politically it’s going to get interesting... May election a possibility. But as we have just seen in NSW, there is a surge of support for parties like Shooters & Farmers and the money being invested by Palmer into Australia First. All this leads to uncertainty which isn’t helping anyone.

How is Mattel approaching the notion of digital transformation?

Slowly! Globally we have plenty of work to do in terms of commercializing digital transformation and we have been VERY slow to react. This could be advantageous long term as any changes we make now probably have a longer-life span... but that is a “glass half full” view. We have plenty of work to do

What is Mattel’s strategy around a diverse and inclusive organisation?

We have a LT that is 50:50 by gender and see that as a great start

Interestingly we spent ½ a day at our last offsite trying to figure what a diverse organization looks like... beyond gender and more in terms of working in a multi-generational office. For us, that is a big piece... how can we make sure we are open to new incentive schemes, work hours and office environments that work across multiple generations. That’s a big part of “diversity” for our business.

What advice regarding leadership do you have for today’s aspiring CEO?

  1. Leadership is consistency- ALWAYS
  2. Build your resilience
  3. Be VERY clear about your personal Brand (and then display it consistently)
  4. Actively listen
  5. Don’t read too much... it gets confusing!


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