Horst Brandstätter
sole owner geobra Brandstätter

PLAYMOBIL Director Horst Brandstätter

Horst Brandstätter, born on June 27th 1933, is the sole owner of geobra Brandstätter Stiftung & 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 60 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 recognized that the future of toy manufacturing was no longer in metal products, but in plastic, and he restructured the entire production facility of the family company accordingly.

At the end of the 1960s, as many firms still shuttled hundreds of employees daily from rural areas into the city, Horst Brandstätter decided to base his production headquarters in Dietenhofen, in the district of Ansbach (Bavaria), because he recognized the much more favorable expansion possibilities that this area offered. At the same time, he relocated the production of labor-intensive products to a subsidiary on the island of Malta.

During the oil crisis at the beginning of the 1970s, 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 worldwide success of PLAYMOBIL today is the result of the creative talents of Hans Beck, his chief model-maker. With formidable effort, Horst Brandstätter accomplished the feat of leading his company from 20 million German Marks in sales within three years to more than 100 million German Marks. A few years later geobra Brandstätter became Germany’s top-selling toy manufacturer. In 2012 the company generated sales of 591 million Euros, with a total of 3,701 employees worldwide.

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. In the early 1980s, he decided to expand the storage and shipping facilities at the Dietenhofen factory so that they could fulfill the worldwide demand for PLAYMOBIL. In recent years, German production operations have been continuously extended to meet current demands.

Horst Brandstätter
sole owner geobra Brandstätter

At the beginning of the 1990s, a modern corporate headquarters for administration, development, marketing and sales was built, as there was no potential for development of the original Fürther Strasse location.

Additionally, Horst Brandstätter's intensive efforts in realizing his ideas for the brand LECHUZA have consistently borne fruit. LECHUZA‘s high-quality plant systems form the ‘second pillar’ of the company’s business, allowing it to expand into a new market. Since the market launch in 2000, sales of premium plastic planters with self-watering systems increased to 46.9 million Euros in 2012. 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. True to the motto, “home-grown is best”, the operations management positions have been filled internally, rather than with external candidates. Most notable among these is Andrea Schauer, who was previously responsible for global marketing and who has now taken over the Development, Marketing and Sales Divisions.

In the mid-1990s, Horst Brandstätter established a foundation to ensure that, after his death, the company will be managed in accordance with his wishes. With this in mind, he set up the charitable "PLAYMOBIL Child Development Foundation", which focuses on the widespread problem of physical inactivity in children. It donates “pirate play-ships” to the outdoor playgrounds of regional kindergartens in Germany. These ships encourage children to be active and thus foster the development of their motor skills.

In order to give children the chance to enjoy PLAYMOBIL outside of their own four walls, Horst Brandstätter founded the PLAYMOBIL FunPark in Zirndorf. It is a unique active playground that attracts around 700,000 visitors from near and far annually.

Horst Brandstätter's career has always been characterized by creativity. He was recognised in 1993 for his extraordinary achievements and social engagement with the Cross of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany. He has been an honorary citizen of the town of Zirndorf, the home of the company’s headquarters, 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 will celebrate his 80th birthday in June 2013. He continues to play an entrepreneurial role 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.

Updated: March 2013