August 30, 2018 / 8:40 PM / a year ago

Mattel hires Saban Brands chief to head new franchise division

FILE PHOTO: Janet Hsu, President and COO of Sanrio, which owns the Hello Kitty brand, speaks at the opening of "Hello! Exploring the Supercute World of Hello Kitty" museum exhibit in honor of Hello Kitty's 40th anniversary, at the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles, California October 10, 2014. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

(Reuters) - Mattel Inc (MAT.O) said on Thursday Janet Hsu, the chief executive of Power Rangers owner Saban Brands, will join the Barbie doll maker as head of a newly created franchise division.

Before working at Saban, Hsu worked as chief operating officer at Sanrio Inc, which owns the hugely popular Hello Kitty franchise. At Saban, Hsu oversaw the development and growth of various brands, including the Power Rangers franchise.

In her new role at Mattel, Hsu will report to Richard Dickson, Mattel’s president and chief operating officer.

Mattel has suffered sluggish sales following the bankruptcy of its top customer Toys ‘R’ Us and has seen top level management changes, including the departure of its chief executive in April.

The new division, titled Global Franchise Management Organization, will look at new commercial ties for the toymaker’s brands, as well as focus on digital gaming, live events and strategic partnerships, Mattel said.

Hsu’s move comes after toy maker Hasbro Inc (HAS.O) said in May it will buy the entertainment and merchandising franchises for superhero TV show Power Rangers from Saban.

Reporting by Nivedita Balu in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber

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