Mattel CEO Bryan Stockton has resigned, effective immediately, after the company posted disappointing fourth quarter results, the fourth straight quarter in which revenues have declined.  Last September Mattel had to surrender its title as "the world’s largest toymaker" to LEGO, and now the company missed analysts’ fourth quarter expectations by a mile, posting earnings of 44 cents, down 58.9% from the fourth quarter of 2013 with worldwide sales for the quarter down 6% year-over-year as well.  Mattel board director Christopher Sinclair is stepping in as interim CEO.

Integrating the recently acquired Mega Brands and currency fluctuations were blamed for part of Mattel’s Q4 2014 problems, but the company’s real dilemmas are far more deeply rooted.  For the first time in most living people’s memories, Mattel’s Barbie was no longer the number one girl’s toyline in 2014, losing out to Disney’s Frozen, and Hasbro has acquired the rights to Frozen characters as Mattel’s chief domestic rival has been increasing its collaboration with Disney (and Marvel).

Barbie and Mattel’s other mainstay, the Fisher-Price line of infant toys, are both very “long in the tooth” brands that are sadly in need of revitalization.  Mattel still has Hot Wheels as well as the rights to toys based on DC Comics properties (see "Mattel Gets Master Toy License for DC"), which could boost sales if Warner Bros.' ambitious slate of DC Comics-based movies pans out (see "Warners Announces 9 More DC Movies"), but the main job of the next Mattel CEO will be resuscitating the all-important Barbie doll line.