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You are here: Home > Perfume & Cologne Articles/News > Designer History > Mattel


Mattel Inc.
Type Public (NYSE: MAT)
Founded 1945
Headquarters El Segundo, California, USA
Key people Robert A. Eckert, Chairman and CEO.
Kevin M. Farr, CFO.
Industry Toys and games
Revenue $5.179 billion USD (2005)
Operating income $664.529 million USD (2005)
Net income $417.019 million USD (2005)
Employees 26,000 (2005)
Website www.mattel.com
Mattel headquarters
Mattel headquarters

Mattel Inc. is an American toy company and is the largest toy company based on revenue. It produces products including Hot Wheels and Matchbox cars, Barbie dolls, board games, Perfumes, and, in the early 1980s, video game consoles. It was founded in 1945 by Harold "Matt" Matson and Elliot Handler (hence the name "matt-el"). Handler's wife Ruth Handler would later become president and is credited with establishing the Barbie product line for the company in 1959. Today the Barbie line is responsible for more than 80% of Mattel's profits.


  • 1 Corporate governance
    • 1.1 Corporate leadership
    • 1.2 Board of directors
  • 2 History
  • 3 Products
    • 3.1 Toys
    • 3.2 Games
  • 4 Trivia

Corporate governance

Corporate leadership

  • Robert A. Eckert, Chairman of the Board, CEO (since May 2000)
  • Kevin Farr, CFO
  • Neil Friedman President Mattel Brands
  • Ellen L. Brothers, President American Girl Brands
  • Bryan G. Stockton, Executive VP of International
  • Thomas A. Debrowski, Executive VP of World Wide Operations
  • Alan Kaye, Senior VP of Human Resource
  • Bob Normille, Senior VP, General Counsel and Secretary

Board of directors

Current members of the board of directors of Mattel Inc. are:

  • Eugene Beard
  • Michael Dolan
  • Robert A. Eckert, Chairman
  • Tully Friedman
  • Dominic Ng
  • Andrea Rich
  • Ronald Sargent
  • Christopher A. Sinclair
  • G. Craig Sullivan
  • John Vogelstein
  • Kathy White


The company originally produced picture frames and dollhouse accessories from picture frame scraps. With the success of its dollhouse accessories, the company turned its attention to toys. The company became publicly traded in 1960.

Although it has never accepted responsibility, Mattel has often been accused of stealing ideas for their toy-lines. For example in the 1980's the company held a contest to invent a character for their He-Man line. The winner was to receive a college scholarship and their idea was to become an actual toy. The toy idea that won (a Camera-Headed figure) was never produced. Mattel instead took ideas from children who did not win, such as Mosquitor, which was produced and sold quite well. Throughout it�s history, the company has been criticized for exploiting the same children that they sell their toys to.

Mattel was the original sponsor of Matty's Funday Funnies from 1959 to 1962.

Throughout the 1960s, Mattel diversified its lineup by purchasing smaller toy companies that produced unrelated toy product lines. In 1966, Mattel purchased a small manufacturer of low-quality plastic lunchboxes. Mattel began exploring ideas for using this company's processes to make new products out of formed plastic. An employee noted that Matchbox was producing a line of die-cast cars but that the cars' wheels didn't roll well. Mattel created a competing line of small toy cars using superior bearings that enabled the new cars to roll further. They paired this advantage with formed plastic technology from the acquired company that allowed Mattel to develop innovative chassis that excited their target market, boys. This resulted in the very successful Hot Wheels line. Another acquisition allowed Mattel to make the diecast chassis that were light and could be painted with bright colors.

An independent audit of Mattel, released on November 3, 1975, revealed that company officials had fabricated press releases and financial information to "maintain the appearance of continued corporate growth."

In 1987, Mattel distributed the NES in Europe, as Nintendo at the time did not have a European office. The early European versions of the NES were called the Mattel Version, while later versions distributed by Nintendo were called the NES Version. The only difference between the two was "Mattel" or "NES" branding under Nintendo Entertainment System plaque on the face of the console.

Between 1986 and 1990, Mattel was also responsible for marketing NES products in Canada, producing bilingual packages, and co-branding them. However, many gray-market American packages were also sold in Canada, which caused Mattel to sue Nintendo. Nintendo eventually took over sole distribution of for North America.

In 1993, Mattel merged with the Fisher-Price toy company. In 1996, Mattel purchased Tyco Toys, which was the third largest toy manufacturer at the time.

In 1999, the ill-advised purchase of a major software publisher, TLC, for $3.6 billion led to the ouster of CEO Jill Barad(See Br�derbund.)

In 2006, Mattel purchased Radica USA, an electronic toy manufacturer.

Mattel serves as the parent company for American Girl (formerly Pleasant Company), Radica USA, and Fisher-Price. Currently, it is headquartered in El Segundo, California.



  • American Girl
  • Barbie and Ken dolls
  • Batman
  • Big Jim
  • Cabbage Patch Kids (1994-2000)
  • Computer Warriors (1989-1990)
  • Chatty Cathy (1959-1965, 1969-1971, 1998, 2001)
  • Diva Starz
  • Fisher-Price
  • Food Fighters
  • Hot Wheels
  • Jack-in-the-box
  • Justice League Unlimited
  • Liddle Kiddles
  • M-16A2 (1973)
  • Masters of the Universe action figures
  • Magic 8 Ball
  • Major Matt Mason (1966 - 1970)
  • Matchbox
  • Max Steel
  • My Child Dolls (1986-1988)
  • My Scene Dolls
  • Naruto
  • Pixel Chix
  • Pixar's Cars Diecast Line
  • Polly Pocket
  • Popples plush toys
  • Pound Puppies
  • Rock 'Em Sock 'Em Robots (1966)
  • Secret Wars (1984-1985)
  • See 'n Say
  • She-Ra: Princess of Power
  • Strange Change Machine (1968)
  • Superman
  • Toss Across
  • Upsy Downsy
  • Tyco R/C
  • Wayne Gretzky
  • Vertibird


  • Cinq-O
  • Radica USA
  • Othello (Reversi)
  • Scene It?
  • Sonar Sub Hunt (1961-?)
  • UNO
  • Scrabble
  • Pictionary


  • The Barbie and Ken dolls are named after the Handler children in 1959.
  • Up until at least 2004, the Mattel logo was displayed inside a white box in advertisements.
  • In Back to the Future Part II and Back to the Future Part III, Mattel has supposedly built hovering skateboards called Hoverboards by the year 2015.
  • In the movie Toy Story, T-Rex (Rex), asks Buzz Lightyear where he is from. Buzz replies that he's from Star Command, and Rex responds, "Oh. Well, I'm from Mattel!" - then adds it was actually a smaller toy company purchased in a leveraged buyout. This is an in-joke referring to some of Mattel's corporate history, in addition to the fact that Mattel produced the tie-in products for the Toy Story movie.
  • Another Mattel in-joke surfaced in Toy Story 2. When Tour Guide Barbie took the other toys on a tour of the toy store, she commented while passing the Buzz Lightyear section: "Mattel sorely underestimated the demand for Buzz Lightyear figures in 1995." This joke references an actual toy shortage in that year due to Mattel's underestimation of the success of the first movie.
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