Playmobil is in crisis. Trading volume continues to decline, and German parent company Horst Brandstätter Group is cutting 700 jobs. Behind the scenes, a real-life thriller takes place starring a secretary who is given a seat on the supervisory board – shortly before the death of company director Horst Brandstätter – and thus seizes all the power.
Marianne Albert, 64, former company secretary Horst Brandstätter, chaired the supervisory board of the Playmobil Foundation, which owns the toy manufacturer, for eight years. She also chairs the Foundation’s Advisory Board which manages the entire group. According to Manager Magazin, this allows it to dismiss board members at any time and subject decisions to its approval.
So the former secretary has a lot of power. The big question is how you got it. According to Manager Magazin, Brandstatter, who was suffering from prostate cancer, changed his will several times before his death in 2015 – until Marianne Albert, whom he described as a “devoted helper,” according to the magazine, became president of the board. From supervision.
Since then, there has been mistrust of Playmobil, writes the newspaper Bild. Albert traded her VW car for a Porsche. Free tickets to the Playmobil amusement park for employees have been cancelled. Albert keeps a close eye on who is in the company canteen and for how long. The canteen’s former director, Gerlinde Breitsbrecher (73), was also given a seat on the advisory board.
A former director of “Manager Magazin” said that the main problem of the crisis is internal squabbles and the resulting lack of focus on important strategic decisions. “Continuous trench warfare (…) is more important than strategic development.”
The company was once worth around three billion euros. According to Manager Magazin, at most half of this amount will remain.
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