In his current post, Jim Walter is responsible for worldwide product quality, safety and regulatory compliance for toy giant Mattel Inc., based in El Segundo, Calif., near Los Angeles. The company, which reported a 6 percent increase in sales worldwide in 2007 to $5.97 billion, designs, makes and markets some of the world's leading toy brands, including Fisher-Price, Barbie dolls, Hot Wheels and American Girl.
The firm owns and operates 10 manufacturing plants worldwide — five in China, two in Mexico and one each in Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand — plus a pair of tooling facilities and a safety lab in China. Mattel employs either directly or indirectly via its own plants and its local partners, some 60,000-80,000 factory workers in China at any one time.
Walter currently also serves as chairman of the Toy Industry Association Inc.'s safety standards steering committee and serves as the convener of the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) work group responsible for the ISO toy standard ISO 8124 (ISO/TC 181/WG).
Before joining Mattel, Walter was the director of technical services for ACTS Testing Labs and was the primary liaison with various U.S. and international regulatory agencies. Prior to his association with ACTS, Walter served as division quality control manager for Fisher-Price.
He received both a bachelor of science degree in chemical engineering and an MBA in finance from the State University of New York at Buffalo.
Walter also serves on the board of directors for INROADS, an international organization focusing on the development and placement of talented minority youth in business and industry.