February 26, 2024

Ynon Kreiz

Chairman & CEO / Mattel

Ynon Kreiz addressed The Economic Club of Chicago on February 26, in front of a live audience. The conversation was moderated by Mary Dillon, former Club Chair and President & CEO of Foot Locker, Inc. Topics ranged from Mattel’s evolution, building a leadership team, the Barbie movie and more.

This is not about trying to make a movie to sell toys. It’s not even about making a movie. It’s about creating a cultural phenomena.

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Ynon Kreiz on the Barbie movie.


Ynon Kreiz

Chairman & CEO / Mattel

Ynon Kreiz is Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Mattel, a leading global toy company and owner of one of the strongest portfolios of children’s and family entertainment franchises in the world. He joined the company as CEO in April 2018 and was appointed Chairman of the Board of Directors in May 2018. Mr. Kreiz has led a multi-year transformation strategy that established Mattel as an IP-driven, high-performing toy company. Under his leadership, Mattel has achieved significant improvements across multiple key financial metrics, grew its Adjusted Earnings Before Interest, Tax, Depreciation and Amortization (EBITDA) almost eight-fold to nearly $1 billion, achieved Gross Billings growth for four consecutive years in constant currency, and meaningfully strengthened its balance sheet. During Mr. Kreiz’s tenure, Mattel has established its Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) strategy and goals as published in its Citizenship Report. Mattel has also been recognized for its achievements in workplace culture and employee wellbeing by Forbes, Time, Fast Company, the Healthiest 100 Workplaces in America, the Great Place to Work Institute, and the Human Rights Campaign Foundation’s Corporate Equality Index. Under Mr. Kreiz’s leadership, Mattel Films has announced 14 live-action motion pictures in active development with major studio partners and the company’s first movie, “Barbie,” was released by Warner Bros. Pictures in summer 2023. Mattel Television Studios has expanded its content offering and reaches audiences across 191 countries in 37 languages. Mattel also has a growing offering in digital gaming through licensing partnerships, game tie-ins, and standalone releases. Mr. Kreiz has had extensive experience as a corporate leader in the media and entertainment industry. Prior to joining Mattel, he was Chairman and CEO of Maker Studios, a global leader in short-form video content and one of YouTube’s largest multichannel networks. Maker Studios was acquired by The Walt Disney Company in 2014. Prior to Maker Studios, Mr. Kreiz was Chairman and CEO of the Endemol Group, the world's largest independent television production company and owner of major programming franchises including Big Brother and Deal or No Deal. Under Mr. Kreiz’s management, Endemol produced more than 10,000 hours of programming a year. He also strengthened the company’s creative output, expanded into scripted content, and built its distribution business. Before Endemol, Mr. Kreiz was a General Partner at Balderton Capital (formerly Benchmark Capital Europe), one of the leading early-stage startup investors in Europe. Prior to Balderton, Mr. Kreiz co-founded Fox Kids Europe NV where he served as Chairman and CEO. Under his leadership, Fox Kids became one of the fastest growing pay TV channels in Europe and the Middle East and operated pay TV channels across 54 countries, broadcasting in 17 languages. The majority ownership of Fox Kids Europe NV was acquired by The Walt Disney Company in 2002. Mr. Kreiz received a BA degree in Economics and Management from Tel Aviv University and an MBA from UCLA Anderson School of Management. He serves on the Board of Directors of Warner Music Group and is a member of the Board of Trustees of the UCLA Anderson School of Management as well as the Paley Center for Media. Mr. Kreiz is also a member of Business Roundtable, an association of chief executive officers of America’s leading companies and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Executive Branch.


Mary Dillon

President & CEO / Foot Locker, Inc.

Mary N. Dillon is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Foot Locker, Inc., where she is responsible for overseeing all business operations and development on a day-to-day basis. Mrs. Dillon is also a member of the Foot Locker, Inc. Board of Directors. Prior to joining Foot Locker, Inc., Mrs. Dillon served as Chief Executive Officer and a member of the Board of Directors of Ulta Beauty, Inc., the largest beauty retailer in the United States, from July 2013 through June 2021. From June 2021 through June 2022, Mrs. Dillon served as Executive Chair of the Board of Directors of Ulta Beauty. Prior to joining Ulta, Mary served as President and Chief Executive Officer and a member of the Board of Directors of United States Cellular Corporation, a provider of wireless telecommunications services, from 2010 through 2013. Prior to joining US Cellular Corporation, Mrs. Dillon served as Global Chief Marketing Officer and Executive Vice President of McDonald's Corporation from 2005 through 2010, where she led the company's worldwide marketing efforts and global brand strategy. Prior to joining McDonald's Corporation, Mrs. Dillon held several positions of increasing responsibility at PepsiCo Corporation, including as President of the Quaker Foods division from 2004 through 2005 and as Vice President of Marketing for Gatorade and Quaker Foods from 2002 through 2004. Mrs. Dillon also currently serves on the Board of Directors of KKR & Co. Inc., a global investment company, and previously served on the Board of Directors of Starbucks Corporation.