NEW YORK–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Fanatics, a leading global digital sports platform, today announced the appointment of preeminent fintech, e-commerce and marketing executives Lydia Jett and Jonathan Mildenhall to its board of directors. Jett, Managing Partner and Head of Global eCommerce and US Consumer Internet Sector Investments at SoftBank Investment Advisers (SBIA), and Mildenhall, co-founder and Executive Chairman of TwentyFirstCenturyBrand and former CMO of Airbnb, bring decades of experience advising and building some of the world’s most influential tech companies and consumer brands.
Both well-admired leaders will play vital roles in uncovering and amplifying opportunities for Fanatics to continue scaling its businesses worldwide, which currently include licensed merchandise and e-commerce, trading cards and collectibles, digital collectibles and NFT’s, and online sports betting and iGaming.
“Fanatics is in the midst of incredible transformation and the deep expertise and insight that Lydia and Jonathan both bring to the board will be vital as we unlock a new digital experience for sports fans globally,” said Fanatics CEO Michael Rubin. “They are both visionaries in their respective fields that will provide invaluable support and guidance as we continue building a revolutionary sports platform.”
Lydia, the first female to hold the title of Managing Partner within SoftBank’s Vision Fund, has nearly twenty years of experience investing in and serving on the boards of market leading technology businesses. Since SoftBank’s initial backing of Fanatics in 2017 – when the firm led a more than $1 billion investment round – she has been a driving force behind the company’s innovation across the licensed sports industry and recent expansion beyond merchandise.
“Over my past five years with the Fanatics management team, I have seen an extraordinary focus, agility and creativity targeted towards fundamentally remaking an industry to better serve its ultimate customers: leagues, athletes and fans,” said Jett. “As we enter the next half decade together, Fanatics is better positioned than ever to be a driving force behind improving a global sports fan’s experience across the digital and physical world.”
Jonathan, a globally respected marketing and advertising professional, co-founded the influential brand building and marketing consultancy firm, TwentyFirstCenturyBrand, and serves as Executive Chairman. Mildenhall also previously served as CMO of Airbnb from 2014 to 2018, a time in which the company’s valuation increased from $1 billion to more than $31 billion. Mildenhall’s expertise is defining company purpose and values, brand strategy and digital transformation, assets that will be invaluable to Fanatics as the company continues to build its brand globally and unlock opportunities to engage with sports fans across current and emerging verticals.
“Over the last six months I have gotten to know Michael, his executive team, and the Fanatics business in a deep and substantial way,” said Mildenhall. “The deeper my understanding of the incredible opportunity ahead the more irresistible the idea of joining the board became. Fanatics will become a culturally significant global brand that will define this and further generations to come.”
In addition to Fanatics, both Lydia and Jonathan serve as members on several company boards. Jett has represented SoftBank on the boards of global internet, e-commerce and blockchain companies including Coupang (NYSE: CPNG), Flipkart, GoTo (IDX: GOTO) and Weee!, and Mildenhall serves on the board of Peloton, Northern Star SPAC, and GoFundMe.
Separate from these board appointments, Fanatics recently released its first environmental, social and governance (ESG) report. The report, which spans 2020 and 2021, covers ESG efforts across several initiatives, including the company’s customer-centric approach, philanthropic endeavours, Fanatics’ inclusion, diversity, equity, and advocacy (IDEA) model, sustainability, labor and human rights, and much more.
To read the full report: https://www.fanaticsinc.com/global-impact
About Lydia Jett
Lydia Jett is a Managing Partner and Head of Global eCommerce and US Consumer Internet Sector Investments at SoftBank Investment Advisers (SBIA) where she has led and represented SoftBank on the Board of Directors of many of the firm’s global investments in consumer internet, e-commerce and blockchain companies including: Coupang (NYSE: CPNG), Fanatics, Flipkart, GoTo (IDX: GoTo), LTK, Misfits Market, Pacaso, The Sandbox, Veho and Weee!
Prior to SBIA, Lydia was a senior member of the investment team at SoftBank Group Corp International where she led SBGI’s investments in Guardant Health (Nasdaq: GH) and 10X Genomics (Nasdaq: TXG). Previously, Lydia was a Vice President at M/C Partners, a growth equity firm, and an Associate at Goldman Sachs in the Principal Investment Area where she invested across media and technology sectors. She started her career at JPMorgan.
In addition, Lydia is an independent board member of Ozon (Nasdaq: Ozon), where she serves on the Audit, Compensation and Nomination and Governance Committees and has published work in Fast Company. Lydia is a graduate of the Stanford Graduate School of Business, the London School of Economics and Smith College, and has been recognized as one of Fortune’s “Most Powerful Women.”
About Jonathan Mildenhall
Jonathan Mildenhall co-founded TwentyFirstCenturyBrand, the influential brand-building and marketing consultancy firm, in 2018, and serves as the company’s Executive Chairman. He is also a board member on several company boards, including Peloton, Northern Star SPAC, and GoFundMe, and he serves as the Co-Chair of non-profit College Track’s Los Angeles Advisory Board. Prior to co-founding TwentyFirstCenturyBrand, Mildenhall served as CMO of Airbnb from 2014 to 2018, during which time Airbnb’s valuation increased from $1 billion to more than $31 billion.
Prior to Airbnb, Mildenhall led The Coca-Cola Company’s marketing initiatives as VP of global advertising strategy and content excellence from 2007 to 2013, and as SVP of integrated marketing communication and design excellence from 2013 to 2014. Earlier in his career, Mildenhall served in various management positions in advertising. Mildenhall holds an HND in Business and Finance from The Manchester Metropolitan University. He completed the Advanced Management Program at Harvard Business School and holds an Honorary Doctorate in Business Administration from The Manchester Metropolitan University. Mildenhall lives in Los Angeles with his husband Mirco and their children Dominica and Oliver.
He has been named to the Financial Times “EMpower 100 Ethnic Minority Leaders” list, has won the AdWeek Brand Genius award, and has been recognized on the Business Insider list of the “Top 50 Most Innovative CMOs in the World.”