JUST ANNOUNCED: The New Era of Leadership 2024 Award Winners


Lisa McKnight

Executive Vice President, Chief Brand Officer, Mattel, Inc.


This Barbie Strengthened the Brand at Mattel Before the Movie Became a Hit

In the 25 years Executive Vice President and Chief Brand Officer Lisa McKnight has been at Mattel, she’d seen discussions of a Barbie movie wax and wane. But 2023 would finally be Barbie’s time for the big screen. First — before the movie went on to gross a whopping $1.4 billion at the box office — McKnight’s job was to strengthen the Barbie brand. In the eight years since she began managing the Barbie portfolio (before a promotion to EVP, Chief Brand Officer in 2023), McKnight has been bolstering the brand with consumers by expanding to new categories like NFTs and modernizing the iconic doll. McKnight’s efforts have evolved the brand from out-of-date to on-the-pulse of pop culture with one of the world’s most diverse doll lines. With 176 dolls representing 35 skin tones and nine body types today, Barbie is the second best-selling toy property in the world — thanks in part to a 2023 sales boom driven by the hit movie.

By Cristina Cala