Ernst Kick and Dr Hans-Juergen Richter will both be stepping down from the executive board of Spielwarenmesse eG when their terms come to an end on June 30th this year, marking the end of two decades of service with the trade fair organisation.
The last two decades have seen each achieve important milestones in their quest to strengthen the company and its services to reflect market needs and remain fit for the future.
Ernst Kick was appointed CEO in 2002. Over the course of his term in office, he has helped drive the business forward, reinforcing Spielwarenmesse’s position on the international scene. His achievements include the reorganisation of the trade fair’s structure to provide a more focused market overview, with the introduction of new product groups and the retail-led presentation of special themes in dedicated areas.
The ToyAward and the annual trends are a direct result of his innovation drive and have since grown into established features that are recognised throughout the toy industry. Kick has also raised the company’s international profile in important growth markets by professionalising its global network of representatives, establishing subsidiaries, and launching an international exhibition programme which includes independent events and international pavilions at trade fairs around the world. In Nuremberg alone, staff numbers have increased under his leadership from 16 to 60 employees today.
Meanwhile, Dr. Hans-Juergen Richter joined the Spielwarenmesse eG’s Executive Board in 2005 and has primarily been responsible for legal and membership matters. For six months in 2002, the lawyer acted as interim CEO of Spielwarenmesse eG until Kick took over the role. In 2013, the two board members set another milestone in the company’s history by registering Spielwarenmesse as a word mark with the German Patent and Trade Mark Office.
Their final year in office turned out very differently for both.
Kick commented: “We would have liked to say goodbye to all our long-standing colleagues in person.”
Instead, the pandemic confronted them with a host of unprecedented challenges. New concepts had to be developed, and digitisation accelerated. Their successors, who have been recruited in-house, have been heavily involved in these processes.
Christian Ulrich, Florian Hess and Jens Pflüger will be taking over the helm of Spielwarenmesse eG on 1 July.
Kick concluded: “Dr. Richter and I are very confident that the new three-member board will steer Spielwarenmesse eG into a successful future, building on its role as a driving force within the industry – we firmly believe in the continued need for and benefits of trade fairs.”