Mattel hires Walmart's Danit Marquardt as VP of global corporate communications

She's reporting to Dena Cook, Mattel's EVP and head of global communications and PR.

MENLO PARK, CA: Mattel has hired former Walmart executive Danit Marquardt as VP of global corporate communications.

Marquardt started in the newly created role in September, reporting to Dena Cook, Mattel’s EVP and head of global communications and PR. 

Mattel’s director of corporate communications and senior manager of internal communications both report to Marquardt, as does its director of PR for EMEA with a dotted line. Marquardt also has agency oversight, according to a Mattel representative. 

Marquardt will lead 360-degree communications for corporate narratives and will partner with the brand PR team to leverage consumer announcements for corporate and internal audiences, according to a brand representative. 

"Mattel houses some of the most iconic brands that transcend generations," said Marquardt in an emailed statement. "These are brands that I grew up with and brands that I am raising my kids with. As the company continues to transform itself, there are amazing stories to tell. I’m honored to have the opportunity to help drive these communications efforts."

Marquardt has joined Mattel from Walmart, where she spent the past seven years, most recently leading consumer communications for Walmart.com in San Bruno, California, since 2016. Previously, she oversaw corporate communications for marketing and merchandising divisions at Walmart U.S. Marquardt left the retail giant last month. 

A Walmart representative was not immediately available for comment about her replacement. 

Former Mattel VP of global brand communications Michelle Chidoni left the company this month for Facebook, where she will lead marketing communications. Her first day at Facebook is Monday. 

Chidoni’s former role at Mattel will be split into two positions, one each based in El Segundo, California, and New York City. Marissa Beck, senior director of Mattel PR, will replace Chidoni in California; the New York role has not been filled. 

Mattel recently released a line of gender-inclusive dolls, called Creatable World, which allows children to customize their doll to create a toy that isn't dictated by gender norms. It also revealed the Barbie Judge Doll this month at the 2019 Barbie Career of the Year doll. 

Mattel hired Cook, the former CEO of Brew Media Relations, in March. Cook is reporting to chairman and CEO Ynon Kreiz. Former Mattel chief communications officer Nandy Elder left the company in October 2018, then joined DAZN in July as its first chief corporate communications officer.

"[Marquardt] is an industry veteran with nearly two decades of experience in strategic communications and brand storytelling for global companies," said Cook in an emailed statement. "She’s exactly what we need to drive Mattel’s corporate story forward as we transform into an IP-driven, high-performing toy company."

In recent years, Mattel has been burdened with falling sales and operating losses. It lost $531 million on sales of $4.5 billion last year. Meanwhile, the company has tried to revive sales by launching films that feature its brands, such as Barbie and American Girl. It started a film division in September 2018. 

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