September 13, 2021 – Haddonfield, NJ-based executive recruitment firm True Search has placed former Nike executive Jason Dunlop as president of CrossFit, based in Boulder, CO. Todd Zangrillo, co-leader of the consumer practice, led the assignment along with partner Ben O’Reilly, principal Hannah James and senior associate James Rigano. “Jason is a perfect fit for the CrossFit president role,” said Mr. Zangrillo. “He brings a high growth and entrepreneurial mindset, coupled with true global experience in leading and managing omni-channel and franchise businesses at scale. He’s completely connected to the mission and loves building community,” he said. “He is a consumer-centric leader with a proven track record and authentic passion for building and leading diverse, high performing teams and creating an inclusive and dynamic team environment.”
“I’m thrilled to welcome Jason as my partner in leading CrossFit toward our goal of transforming 100 million lives,” said Eric Roza, CEO of CrossFit. “Jason’s expertise leading the hypergrowth of some of the world’s leading brands across Europe, the Middle East and Africa will be a powerful driver for achieving CrossFit’s mission.”
As the executive responsible for Nike’s direct-to-consumer (D2C) business across Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA), Mr. Dunlop directed Nike store growth and digital expansion by focusing on consumers and his team, helping position Nike as the leading sports brand across the region. In addition to Nike, Mr. Dunlop has also served in senior roles with Starbucks, Canada Goose, Waterstones, The Body Shop, Marks & Spencer and The Gap. As COO of Starbucks for EMEA, he was responsible for all aspects of the brand’s retail operations across the 2,750 stores and 41 countries that comprise the company’s EMEA business.
As president of CrossFit, Mr. Dunlop will partner with Mr. Roza to capitalize on CrossFit’s broad worldwide opportunities, including the continued growth of the CrossFit gym network outside the U.S., which already accounts for nearly half of CrossFit’s 12,000 affiliates; the expansion of CrossFit’s education and training programs; new product launches like CrossFit Affiliate Programming (CAP) and OnRamp; and the global growth of the sport of CrossFit, highlighted by events like the CrossFit Open and CrossFit Games.
“Through its passionate community and proven ability to transform lives, CrossFit has come a long way from its humble roots, but it has barely begun to tap its unlimited global potential,” said Mr. Dunlop. “I am confident that we can build CrossFit into an iconic worldwide brand on par with Nike and Starbucks, and I am as excited today to join the CrossFit community as I was five years ago when I first walked into a CrossFit box and felt that sense of community, inclusivity and mission.”
CrossFit is owned by private equity firm Berkshire Partners. In the 20 years since its founding, CrossFit has grown from a garage gym in Santa Cruz, CA, into one of the world’s best-known fitness brands. CrossFit provides transformational benefits through workouts in more than 12,000 affiliated gyms across 150-plus countries. CrossFit LLC also orchestrates the CrossFit Games season, beginning with the annual CrossFit Open, through which athletes at every level compete worldwide, and culminating in the CrossFit Games, where top athletes compete for the title of “Fittest on Earth.”
Serving the Private and Public Sectors
Working in both the private and public sectors, True Search has offices throughout the U.S. as well as the EMEA and APAC regions. Since the late 1990s, the firm’s founders have refined their search process with a blend of data-centric insights, relationship-building, and experience to produce a methodology that consistently improves hiring decisions and accelerates growth. Its clients include Jet, Work Front and Summit Partners. True Search is a subsidiary of True Platform, a global portfolio of human capital services and products for high-growth tech and tech-enabled organizations. True recently placed No. 7 on the Hunt Scanlon Media “Top 50 Recruiters” ranking.
LLR Partners, a private equity firm based in Philadelphia, has made an investment in True. The new partnership is aimed at developing and expanding innovation within the talent space. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. True surpassed $100 million in revenues in 2019 and added 146 people during the pandemic. True has consistently been the fastest organic growth mid-sized search firm over the last decade.
David Reuter, a partner at LLR, joins True’s board of directors alongside Nick Caldwell, vice president of engineering at Twitter; Jennifer Ceran, CFO of Smartsheet; Alex Shootman, CEO of Adobe company platform Workfront; and Evan Wittenberg, EVP and chief people officer at Ancestry. Following the minority stake investment, True co-founders Brad Stadler and Joe Riggione will continue to lead the firm with support and guidance from its board. True’s valuation was said to have been an outlier, reflecting the private equity firm’s belief that True has the potential to become one of the most significant brands in the executive talent sector. Notably, the deal is structured to grant employee participation in value creation over time.
A tech growth-company builder for more than 20 years, Mr. Zangrillo leads the firm’s consumer practice. He conducts a range of CxO searches for True clients across a broad number of sectors. The Consumer team’s breadth of knowledge and expertise within consumer internet, beauty, retail & fashion, food, travel and hospitality and digital media and entertainment provides the ideal multi-faceted approach. Prior to joining True, he served as the human resources business partner with eBay’s E-commerce technology organization.
Ms. James focusing on go-to-market searches in the consumer practice. She joined the firm after five years at Uber, where she led the sales and business development recruiting team and helped scale the company from 700 to 20,000 employees.
Mr. Rigano works from True’s New York office. He focuses on CEO, COO, supply chain and marketing searches in the consumer practice. Prior to True, Mr. Rigano worked in public accounting and luxury retail.
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media