True Search Recruits Funko CEO

May 10, 2024 – Global talent provider True has named Cynthia Williams as the new CEO of Funko, Inc. listed on NASDAQ in Everett, Washington. The task was led by Todd Zangrillo, Ben O’Reilly, Gail Tifford and Elizabeth Tyler. Michael Lunsford is serving as the company’s interim CEO until Ms. Williams joins the company. “This is the next level of innovation in the collectibles category,” Mr. Zangrillo said. “Cynthia’s experience bringing to market leading brands in pop culture, e-commerce, retail and consumer products. fit perfectly into Funko’s current and future business strategy”

“After a thorough and comprehensive search process, we are pleased to welcome Cynthia as our chief executive officer,” said Jesse Jacobs, chairman of Funko’s nominating and corporate governance committee and partner and co-founder of The Chernin Group, which owns approximately 25 percent of Funko common stock. “Cynthia has held various senior leadership positions at some of the largest and most respected companies in the world. He has a deep understanding of pop culture, entertainment and fandoms, and a proven track record of building consumer brands, developing global strategies and driving global growth. We are confident that Cynthia has the experience, leadership and strategic vision to lead Funko into the future.

“We thank Mike for his many contributions,” said Charles Denson, president. “Under his leadership, Funko has refocussed its business on core assets, reduced debt levels and significantly improved margins. With Funko now on solid footing, Cynthia will step in and lead the company to its next phase of growth and profitability. I know Cynthia is the right choice to lead Funko into the future, and we know that Mike and Cynthia together will ensure a smooth transition for all of our stakeholders.

Ms. Williams has nearly two decades of executive experience in the consumer products, gaming and e-commerce industries. Most recently, she served as president of Hasbro’s Wizards of the Coast and Hasbro Gaming divisions, where she oversaw the company’s gaming portfolio including Dungeons & Dragons, Magic: The Gathering and Monopoly. During her time at Hasbro, Ms. Williams scaled growth areas and positioned the gaming division for continued success in the face of changing consumer demand. Previously, she spent several years at Microsoft, most recently as General Manager and Vice President of the Gaming Ecosystem Commercial Team, where she led significant growth of Xbox Gaming. Previously, Ms. Williams spent over a decade in a senior position at Amazon, where she played a key role in the global growth of their direct-to-consumer e-commerce business, Fulfillment by Amazon.

“I am honored to lead Funko, a company with a 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 excited about this unique opportunity to help Funko realize its full potential. My extensive experience with dedicated Dungeons & Dragons, Magic: The Gathering and Xbox fans will be very useful in developing products that continue to appeal to die-hard Funko fans, both core fans and collectors. I look forward to working with the board, leadership team and our employees around the world to further strengthen our brands and deliver value to our shareholders.”

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, stuffed animals, apparel, home goods and accessories for consumers who are looking for tangible ways to connect with their favorite pop culture brands and characters.

Finding older talent

Operating in both the private and public sectors, True Search has offices throughout the United States, as well as in EMEA and APAC. Since the late 1990s, the company’s founders have refined their search process, combining data-centric knowledge, relationship building and experience to create a methodology that consistently improves hiring decisions and accelerates growth. The company’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 rapidly evolving technology and technology-enabled organizations. True was recently ranked No. 6 in Hunt Scanlon Media’s “Top 50 Recruiters.”

For over 20 years, Mr. Zangrillo has been co-head of the firm’s consumer practice building technology-driven companies. He conducts a number of CxO searches for real clients in many sectors. The consumer team’s breadth of knowledge and experience across 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 a human resources business partner for eBay’s e-commerce technology organization.

Mr. O’Reilly conducts director and vice president searches in the consumer sector, specializing in marketing, creative and GTM roles. He serves as co-head of True’s go-to-market practice and co-head of True’s new retail business. Mr. O’Reilly works with high-growth companies at all stages, from Series A startups to publicly traded companies, with a particular focus on the intersection of commerce, content, technology and growth.

Global Marketing Director Ms. Tifford is a partner in True’s consumer practice. As Chief Brand Officer at WW International (formerly Weight Watchers) from 2018 to October 2021, she led the strategic rebrand and evolution of the platform from weight loss to holistic wellness.

Ms. Tyler works in the office of True’s CEO and Board of Directors. 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 market.

Related: True Search Recruits CEO for Match Group

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