Brian Goldner, who as chief executive and chairman spearheaded Hasbro’s transformation from a toy company to an entertainment force, has died aged 58.
The announcement came two days after the company based in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, said Mr Goldner was taking a medical leave of absence.
Hasbro did not give a cause of death, but Mr Goldner disclosed in August 2020 that he had been undergoing treatment for cancer since 2014.
Mr Goldner, who joined Hasbro in 2000, had served as the chief executive of Hasbro since 2008, and as chairman since May 2015.
Under his stewardship, Hasbro expanded beyond toys and games into television, movies, digital gaming and other areas.
That strategy culminated with the 2019 acquisition of Entertainment One, a British entertainment company that produces Peppa Pig, PJ Masks and other animated shows for pre-schoolers.
Mr Goldner also served on the board of ViacomCBS.
Marc Rosenberg, a toy consultant who worked closely with Mr Goldner as a marketing executive at Hasbro 15 years ago, said Mr Goldner was always interested in telling a story about toys and went to the archives to pull out such brands as My Little Pony, Transformers and the Tiniest Pet Shop.
“His idea was to take brands that had been sitting dormant and reimagine them,” he said.
“He always said you have to have a story arc, whether it is toys or movies.”
When Hasbro announced Mr Goldner’s medical leave, it said that Rich Stoddart, most recently the lead independent director of the company’s board, had been appointed as interim chief executive.
Mr Stoddart was previously chief executive at marketing company InnerWorkings and Leo Burnett Worldwide.
He has served on Hasbro’s board since 2014.