Mattel CEO: We beefed up oversight

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first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREGame Center: Chargers at Kansas City Chiefs, Sunday, 10 a.m. SAN FRANCISCO – Robert A. Eckert, chairman and CEO of Mattel Inc., said Wednesday that the world’s largest toy maker has “significantly increased” spot testing and other safety protocols at manufacturing plants after the recall of more than 20 million products made in China. “Trust can be earned and can be lost. Building credibility and trust takes time but can be dissolved in an instant,” the father of four told hundreds of executives gathered for an annual Business for Social Responsibility conference. “When my children say, `Dad, trust me,’ I always respond, `Deeds, not words.’ I believe that also applies to business.” So far, more than 21 million toys made in China – from Baby Einstein Discover & Play Color Blocks by Kids II Inc., to Thomas & Friends Wooden Railway by RC2 Corp. – have been found to contain excessive levels of lead paint, tiny magnets that could be swallowed or other potentially serious problems. El Segundo-based Mattel has been at the center of the recall wave, with more than 20million affected products. Eckert described Mattel’s new “three-point check system,” which is meant to ensure that toys with excessive levels of lead paint don’t end up in the hands of consumers. The system requires all paint to be tested before the manufacturing process begins, and it applies to every vendor, contractor, subcontractor and paint storage facility. Mattel also banned contractors from outsourcing work to other locations, he said. The company established a consumer call center dedicated to the recalls and has communicated with at least 6 million people by phone and e-mail. It has sent out 5million mailing labels so people can return recalled products. Eckert also created a new “corporate responsibility organization” overseeing product quality, labor standards and sustainability. Mattel is working on “viable recycling options” for the recalled toys and their containers, he said. Eckert stopped short of saying the recalls would never be repeated, emphasizing that “no business enterprise is perfect.” He also described the controls as “evolutionary, not revolutionary.” But he said the beefed-up protocols weren’t simply to placate frightened customers; they were also meant for Wall Street. “If you’d have asked me 10 years ago, I’d have said our role … is to earn a return on capital to make money,” Eckert said. “Today I’ve become evangelical about the fact that making money and doing good are complementary, not conflicting. It’s a responsibility.”160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! SPEECH: Chairman of El Segundo toy company talks about ethics and new protocol after recalls. By Rachel Konrad THE ASSOCIATED PRESS last_img

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