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Wizards of the Coast President Cynthia Williams steps down

Hasbro's Digital Gaming and Wizards of the Coast CEO Cynthia Williams has resigned from her position, leaving the company next week.

Wizards of the Coast Women in Gaming Cynthia Williams headshot

Wizards of the Coast and Hasbro Gaming President Cynthia Williams has resigned from her position at the company. As revealed by a United States Securities and Exchange Commission filing, she informed Hasbro of her resignation on April 15, 2024 and will leave the role on April 26.

The Magic: The Gathering and Dungeons and Dragons publisher has currently made no statement about Williams’ departure, or her reasons for leaving. The filing simply states that Hasbro is “conducting a process to identify her successor, looking at both internal and external candidates”.

Cynthia Williams joined Hasbro in February 2022, taking over from Chris Cocks who became Hasbro CEO. Previously, Williams worked as General Manager and VP on the Gaming Ecosystem Commercial Team at Microsoft, and before this she worked for Amazon.

Baldurs gate 3 an elderly woman doing magic

During the two and a bit years Williams has served as Wizards’ President, the most major change is likely the ramping up of MTG Universes Beyond, crossover releases with other popular IPs which have proved a smashing success for the company, with MTG Lord of the Rings in particular deemed its best selling set ever.

Other wins for Wizards were in the digital realm. For instance, 2023 saw the release of the most prestigious DnD game ever: Baldur’s Gate 3 won GOTY and sold 10 million copies. Last year also saw the launch of Monopoly Go, currently the best mobile game in terms of download numbers.

But these years have also seen their fair share of controversy. In 2022, the ire of Magic players was raised by the release of the 30th anniversary edition, a commemorative collection of non-legal cards that cost $999.

But the uproar around that pales in comparison to the furore that hit Wizards early last year when it tried to make changes to the DnD OGL. On that occasion the upheaval in the tabletop RPG community was so great that Wizards ultimately walked back its decision entirely. Overall, it seemed to be a very good month for Pathfinder.

MTG artwork of a dragon looking out over their fortress

In terms of Wizards of the Coast’s financial performance, Hasbro’s Wizards of the Coast and digital gaming sector had a record-breaking year in 2022, beating the previous best-ever year of 2021, despite a poor third quarter impacted by MTG delays. This was also the year Magic: The Gathering became a billion dollar brand.

But 2023 seems to have been more of a mixed bag. After a strong third quarter, Q4 2023 profits were hampered by expensive Universes Beyond license fees – despite the massive success of MTG Lord of the Rings – and the 10% increase in the segment’s revenue was largely down to Monopoly Go and Baldur’s Gate 3.

Then, after a surprising and dramatic round of layoffs in December 2023, Wizards predicted a revenue slump in 2024.

The story throughout this period, however, has been that Wizards of the Coast has performed far better than the rest of owner Hasbro.

It’s particularly interesting to note that Hasbro’s next earnings report is just around the corner, taking place on April 24, just two days before Williams’ resignation goes into effect. We don’t have any data on the first two MTG sets of the year, but going off pure gut feeling, we wouldn’t be shocked if Ravnica Remastered and Murders at Karlov Manor had underperformed.

Until Williams’ successor has been chosen and found their feet, it is impossible to speculate, even in broad terms, about what impact her departure will have on the company’s future. Needless to say, we’ll be keeping our eyes open, and our ears pricked during the Hasbro earnings call next week.

For more Wizards content, check out the MTG release schedule or DnD release schedule for 2024.