PLAYMOBIL director Horst Brandstätter

News   •   Aug 01, 2012 16:39 BST

Horst Brandstätter, born on June 27th 1933, is the sole owner of geobra Brandstätter GmbH & Co. KG in Zirndorf, Germany, manufacturer of the classic PLAYMOBIL toys. He is among the most distinguished personalities of the German toy industry. His success as a manufacturer, which spans a career of more than 55 years, is above all due to his skills in identifying future economic and business expansion possibilities early on and positioning his company accordingly. As early as the 1950s, he recognised that the future of toy manufacturing was no longer in metal products, but in plastic, and restructured the entire production facility of the family company. 

At the end of the 60s, as many firms still shuttled hundreds of employees daily from rural areas into the city, Horst Brandstätter decided on the ideally located Dietenhofen property (Ansbach district) for his production headquarters, not least because he recognised the much more favourable expansion possibilities offered there. At the same time, he relocated the production of labour-intensive products to a subsidiary on the island of Malta. 

During the oil crisis at the beginning of the 70s, Hob – as he is called internally – put the entire product line under scrutiny and realigned the company's corporate philosophy for the future. The goal was to achieve an extendable toy system that had maximum possible play value using the smallest amount of raw materials possible. The result is today's worldwide success, PLAYMOBIL. With formidable exertion Horst Brandstätter accomplished the feat of leading his company from 20 million DM in sales within three years to more than 100 million DM. A few years later geobra Brandstätter became Germany's top-selling toy manufacturer. In 2011 the company geobra Brandstätter generated sales of 564 million Euros with around 3,500 employees internationally. 

The principles of Horst Brandstätter include staying true to his corporate guidelines and always remaining trustworthy and reliable for consumers as well as business partners and employees. Indisputably, Brandstätter is a businessman with a unique sense of vision, which often proved to be way ahead of its time. At the beginning of the 80s, he decided to design the storage and shipping possibilities at the factory in Dietenhofen to such scale and capacity as to supply the whole of Europe with PLAYMOBIL entirely from there. In recent years the German production operations have been continuously expanded to meet current demands. 

At the beginning of the 90s, a modern corporate headquarters for administration, development, marketing and sales was built, with the goal of fully utilising the creative human resources in the company - a goal which has been successfully achieved. 

Additionally, Horst Brandstätters intensive efforts in realizing his ideas for the brand LECHUZA have consistently borne fruit. LECHUZA high quality plant systems form the 'second pillar' of the companies business, having allowed it to enter a new market. Since the market launch in 2000, sales of premium plastic planters with soil watering systems has risen, reaching 45,6 million Euro in 2011. LECHUZA is exported to more than 80 countries and its expansion is set to continue. 

At the turn of the millennium, Horst Brandstätter realized a plan that he had been working toward for years, namely, regulating succession at top management level in the various company branches. In doing so, he took advantage of his expertise, opting for internal recruitment of leadership positions rather than seeking candidates outside of the company – "…so that the organisation wouldn't get out of order." In this way, he was able to prevent replacement problems, which are prevalent in many companies. 

To ensure the future of the company Horst Brandstätter brought the foundation "Fostering child development by PLAYMOBIL" to life. The purpose of this foundation is, among other things, to encourage children to exercise. In today's society, there is a substantial deficit in this domain, which negatively effects the development of children. In order to give children the chance to enjoy PLAYMOBIL outside of their own four walls, Horst Brandstätter founded the PLAYMOBIL fun park in Zirndorf. It is a unique active playground that attracts more than 700,000 visitors from near and far annually. 

Horst Brandstätter's career has always been characterised by creativity. He was recognised in 1993 for his extraordinary achievements and social engagement with a Cross of Merit on ribbon of the Federal Republic of Germany. He has been an honorary citizen of his hometown Zirndorf since 1997. The BDU (German Corporate Consultant Organisation) named him "Manager of the Year" in 1999. In 2003 he received the Bavarian Order of Merit and in 2008 the Federal Cross of Merit 1st Class of Germany. 

Horst Brandstätter is still active in the company and remains close to the leadership team whether near or far, with advice and assistance. He sees staying involved with the company as his life's purpose, with the goal of "achieving optimal conditions for good future perspectives in the company and continuous growth." The multifaceted, athletic Franconian is a passionate golfer and also practices his sport with his unique diligence and determination.