aNb Media News, March 1, 2011

John Barbour Named CEO of LeapFrog

LeapFrog Enterprises, Inc., announced the appointment of John Barbour as the company’s new CEO and as a member of the board of directors. The current CEO William Chiasson has been named chairman of the board. These changes will be effective as of March 7, 2011.

“We are very excited that John is joining LeapFrog as CEO,” said William Chiasson, current CEO of LeapFrog, in a statement. “John has a 25-year track record of building global consumer and internet businesses in both traditional retail and direct-to-consumer environments.”

John Barbour has a long history in the toy industry. He served as president of the GameHouse division of RealNetworks, Inc., from October 2008–August 2010, where he led the business to profitability. From October 2006–October 2008, he served as the managing partner of Volta Capital, LLC a strategy and investment consulting firm where he assisted clients with a wide variety of investment and strategic development engagements. From 1999–June 2006, Barbour was employed by TRU. He served as president, TRU U.S. from August 2004–June 2006. Prior to that, he served as president TRU international and chairman, TRU Japan from February 2002–August 2004. From 1999–2002, he served as president and CEO of He has also held senior level positions with Hasbro, Inc., Russ Berrie, Inc., and Universal Matchbox Group, Ltd.

Orb Factory Acquires Curiosity Kits

The Orb Factory announced it acquired the assets of Curiosity Kits. The Orb Factory has assumed the rights to all of the Curiosity Kits brand trademarks and copyrights.

“The Orb Factory is excited and committed to build upon Curiosity Kits’ legacy as one of the leading brands in the specialty industry,” said Steven Kay, president and founder, The Orb Factory Limited, in a statement. “Our company has a proven record of developing high-quality innovative products and we are extremely proud to now have Curiosity Kits be part of our growing family of brands.”

The company plans to aggressively grow the brand with the first new products being introduced at the summer trade shows for shipments beginning in July 2011. Additionally, specialty retailers will be able to add Curiosity Kits products to their Orb Factory orders to help reach the free freight level and get the best levels of discounts and dating, according to the company.

CitiBlocs Get European Distribution

CitiBlocs signed a deal with HCM Kinzel to distribute CitiBlocs in more than 20 European countries. HCM Kinzel and its agents will be key distributors to such countries as Austria, The Baltic States, Germany, Norway, Switzerland, Sweden, Spain, Holland, Italy, and more.

European retailers will be able to order, what the company calls, natural, hot, and cool color CitiBlocs starting this month. Additional SKUs will be added throughout the year.