Playmobil’s CEO Helga Ellul retires

Helga Ellul was appointed general manager of the local plant in 1976.

Helga Ellul was appointed general manager of the local plant in 1976.

Helga Ellul, one of the island’s foremost business leaders, is retiring from her position as long-standing chief executive of the toymaker Playmobil Malta.

Playmobil Malta chief operations officer Matthias Fauser has been appointed as her successor. He joined the company in 1992 as head of the printing department.

Ms Ellul, 65, says Playmobil’s Malta story “is full of moments of great satisfaction”.

She singles out a few: the first time the company sent of a group of Maltese young people for vocational training in Germany; the move to the current state-of-the-art factory in 2002; the numerous awards received by Playmobil in Malta, including for quality and HR; and “the amazing fact that all Playmobil figures, some 100 million per year and more than 2.5 billion to date, are today being produced in Malta”.

Ms Ellul occupied several posts within the German Brandstätter Group, including chief executive of Playmobil Malta, chairman of the board of directors of Playmobil USA and served as a top management member of the Brandstätter Group.

A former president of the Malta Chamber of Commerce, Enterprise and Industry, Ms Ellul has long championed Malta’s manufacturing sector and wider industry.

She traces a career with the Brandstätter Group that began in the company’s sales and exports department in 1968. She came to Malta as plant manager of Brandstätter Group’s manufacturing facilities in 1974 after spending the first seven years of her career at the group’s head office in her home town Zirndorf in Germany.

She was appointed general manager of the local plant in 1976 and managing director of the Brandstätter Group in Malta in 1982.

Since then, Ms Ellul has established herself as a champion for embracing change and as a strong believer in the potential and competence of the Maltese workforce, two important pillars which led to Playmobil Malta’s establishment as one of the islands’ fore-most industrial success stories, which today employs some 1,000 workers.

In 1994, Ms Ellul was presented with the Midalja għall-Qadi tar-Repubblika – the first non-Maltese to receive the award – in recognition of her outstanding entrepreneurship and her overall contribution to the local manufacturing industry.

Playmobil owner Horst Brandstätter had said: “To build something is a big accomplishment, to continuously improve on it requires strength, energy and tireless effort. To hand it over to the next generation in an orderly manner is a masterpiece of leadership.”

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