American Girl store (copy)

Katy Dickson takes the helm at Middleton doll and book company American Girl, whose retail store at Water Tower Place in Chicago is shown above in this archive photo.

American Girl has a new leader.

Katy Dickson took over in February as president of American Girl and senior vice president of parent company Mattel.

She is the fourth person to head the Middleton doll, book and accessories company since it began 30 years ago.

Dickson succeeds Jean McKenzie, who served in those positions for three years. McKenzie also took on the role of executive vice president of Fisher-Price last summer. She transitioned to Fisher-Price full-time at the end of 2015, American Girl spokeswoman Julie Parks said.

Dickson, who has a master’s degree in business administration from UCLA’s Anderson School of Management, served for more than 20 years as a marketing executive at General Mills.

Most recently, she was executive vice president and global chief marketing officer of News Corp’s News America Marketing division, a major North American coupon distributor, for the past year.

Dickson is a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy.

Founded in 1986, American Girl has 2,352 employees worldwide, including 665 in Wisconsin.

The company’s sales dipped in the past year, totaling $572 million, down from $618.7 million in 2014, adjusted for foreign exchange.

Competition from other doll companies — as well as other activities and digital content aimed at girls — were among the contributing factors, American Girl said.

The company earlier this month announced the elimination of 19 employees at its Middleton headquarters, bringing the total number there to 444.

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Judy Newman is a business reporter for the Wisconsin State Journal.