True Search Recruits CEO for Funko

May 10, 2024 – Global talent provider True has placed Cynthia Williams as the new CEO of NASDAQ-traded Funko, Inc. in Everett, WA. Todd Zangrillo, Ben O’Reilly, Gail Tifford, and Elizabeth Tyler led the assignment. Michael Lunsford is serving as the company’s interim CEO until Ms. Williams joins the company.

“There’s a next level of innovation happening in collectibles category,” said Mr. Zangrillo. “Cynthia’s experience launching leading brands in pop culture, ecommerce, retail, and consumer products. align perfectly with Funko’s current and future business strategy”

“After a thorough and comprehensive search process, we are thrilled to welcome Cynthia as our CEO,” said Jesse Jacobs, chairman of Funko’s nominating and corporate governance committee and a partner and co-founder at The Chernin Group, which owns approximately 25 percent of Funko’s common stock. “Cynthia has served in a variety of senior leadership roles with some of the largest and most well-respected companies in the world. She has a deep understanding of pop culture, entertainment and fandoms, with a proven background in building consumer brands, developing worldwide strategies and driving global growth. We are confident Cynthia has the experience, leadership capabilities and strategic vision to guide Funko into the future.”

“We thank Mike for his many contributions,” said Charles Denson, chairman. “Under his leadership, Funko has refocused its business on core assets, lowered its debt levels and substantially improved margins. With Funko now on a solid foundation, Cynthia will come in and drive the company to the next phase of growth and profitability. I know Cynthia is the right choice to lead Funko going forward and we know Mike and Cynthia together will ensure a seamless transition for all our stakeholders.”

Ms. Williams has almost two decades of senior leadership experience across the consumer products, gaming and e-commerce industries. Most recently, she served as president of Hasbro’s Wizards of the Coast and Hasbro Gaming division, where she oversaw the company’s portfolio of games that includes Dungeons & Dragons, Magic: The Gathering, and Monopoly. During her tenure at Hasbro, Ms. Williams scaled areas of growth and positioned the Gaming division for continued success amid evolving consumer demand. Prior to that, she spent several years at Microsoft, most recently as general manager and vice president, gaming ecosystem commercial team, where she drove the significant expansion of Xbox Gaming. Earlier, Ms. Williams was a senior executive at Amazon for over a decade, where she played a key role in the global growth of their e-commerce direct-to-consumer business, Fulfillment by Amazon.

“I am honored to lead Funko, a company celebrated for its history of creativity and innovation on behalf of a passionate fan base,” said Ms. Williams. “Funko has built a portfolio of valuable global brands, and I am energized about this unique opportunity to help Funko fully realize its potential. My extensive experience with the devoted fans of Dungeons & Dragons, Magic: The Gathering, and Xbox will be highly beneficial in developing products that continue to appeal to Funko’s passionate fans, both core fans and collectors. I’m eager to work with the board, management team and our employees around the world to further strengthen our brands and deliver value to our stockholders.”

Related: True Search Recruits CEO for Imperfect Foods

Funko is a pop culture lifestyle brand. Funko designs, sources and distributes licensed pop culture products across multiple categories, including vinyl figures, action toys, plush, apparel, housewares and accessories for consumers who seek tangible ways to connect with their favorite pop culture brands and characters.

Finding Senior Talent

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. The firm’s 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. 6 on the Hunt Scanlon Media “Top 50 Recruiters” ranking.

A tech growth-company builder for more than 20 years, Mr. Zangrillo co-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 and fashion, food, travel and hospitality, and digital media and entertainment provides a strong multi-faceted approach. Prior to joining True, he served as the human resources business partner with eBay’s E-commerce technology organization.

Mr. O’Reilly leads C-suite and VP-level searches across the consumer sector with a specialization in marketing, creative, and GTM roles. He serves as the co-head of the go-to-market practice and co-head of True’s new retail sector. Mr. O’Reilly partners with high-growth business at all stages, from series A startups through publicly traded companies with a keen focus on the intersection of commerce, content, technology and growth.

Global marketing executive Ms. Tifford is a partner in True’s consumer practice. As chief brand officer of WW International (formerly Weight Watchers) from 2018 through October 2021, she led a strategic brand shift and platform evolution from weight loss to holistic wellness.

Ms. Tyler works in True’s CEO and board practices. Prior to True, she was a talent intern at VMG Partners, a San Francisco-based private equity firm that invests primarily in the consumer-packaged goods space.

Related: True Search Recruits CEO for Match Group

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Executive Editor; Lily Fauver, Senior Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media

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