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Mattel Names New President of Mattel Interactive

Bernard Stolar, former president and COO of Sega of America, will lead the interactive division.

Beleagured toy maker


(MAT) - Get Mattel Inc. Report

said Monday Bernard Stolar, former president and chief operating officer of

Sega of America

, had been appointed president of

Mattel Interactive


The El Segundo, Calif.-based company also announced that its chief financial officer, Harry Pearce, would retire in March. The company is searching for a successor.

The stock market, which has been disappointed with the company's recent performance, was not impressed by the news, which was announced in the last hour of trading. Mattel ended down 1/8, or 0.5%, to 13 1/16.

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Analysts said Stolar's appointment could, however, be a step in the right direction.

"This is a positive announcement. Stolar has a good reputation," said Marina Jacobson, an analyst at

Bear Stearns

. She rates the company attractive and has not done any underwriting for it.

Jacobson said Stolar, 53, would face the challenge of getting the activities of Mattel Interactive, which includes

Learning Co.

, Mattel software products and the toy maker's online businesses, on the growth track.

"Our biggest concern with the interactive division is that there's not that much growth," she added. Mattel has had trouble integrating its $3.8 billion acquisition of Learning Co., missing earnings estimates twice in 1999.

In April, Mattel unveiled a $50 million plan to develop its Internet activities, but uncertainties about the company's ability to successfully manage its online business are still weighing on the company.

"I'm looking forward to helping shape Mattel's software and online product lines to further capitalize on its strengths today and make Mattel Interactive an even stronger interactive and digital media company in the future," Stolar said in a statement.

Stolar served as president and chief operating officer of Sega from July 1996 to August 1999. He is credited with orchestrating the company's reemergence in the video game market.