My Little Pony: A New Generation My Little Pony: A New Generation

Hasbro CEO Brian Goldner died on Tuesday, two days after taking a leave of absence from the company. He was 58. No cause of death was given, but he was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2014 and had received treatment in the past year.

Brian Goldner

Goldner joined Hasbro in 2000, moving from another toy firm, Bandai America. He was named CEO in 2008. Under his tenure, the company became an entertainment giant, shifting its focus from mostly making toys to building brands through media franchises.

Animation has been central to this strategy. In 2016, Hasbro acquired Boulder Media, one of Ireland’s largest animation studios. A $3.8 billion acquisition of Entertainment One, the Canadian owner of properties like Peppa Pig and PJ Masks, followed in 2019. Merger talks with Dreamworks foundered, however.

Under Goldner’s watch, the My Little Pony franchise was revived, yielding many series, specials, and films — most recently My Little Pony: A New Generation (pictured at top), which came out on Netflix last month. Toylines like Transformers also got new animated spin-offs, and the company launched successful series based on lesser-known properties like Hanazuki.

Throughout, Hasbro continued its central business: making toys, notably for Disney. The company held licenses for properties like Marvel, Star Wars, and Disney Princess. Goldner cultivated strong ties with Hollywood, and sat as a board member at ViacomCBS.

Hasbro board member Rich Stoddart, an old friend of Goldner’s, has been appointed interim CEO. “On behalf of the Hasbro family, we extend our deepest, heartfelt condolences to his wife, daughter, and entire family,” he said upon Goldner’s death.

Goldner is survived by his wife Barbara Goldner and daughter Brooke.

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