Earlier today, entertainment news source Variety reported that Funimation General Manger Gen Fukunaga will step down from his position. In a memo, Fukunaga explained that he will remove himself from day-to-day operations within six months, and that a search for a new General Manager is currently ongoing.
Fukunaga explained that he will “continue to have oversight of the business and will focus on managing relationships with [Funimation’s] content partners.” He noted that the change has been in the works since Sony acquired the company in 2017. He notes that Funimation is “hitting its stride,” with a business valuation of more than $130 million, and distribution in the United States, Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, and Ireland.
Variety published Fukunaga’s memo in full, which you can check out below:
As I announced at our All Hands today, I will be stepping into the position of Chairman of the Board at Funimation and transitioning my GM role within the next six months. We’ve initiated the search for a new GM, and once we have selected the new leader, I’ll work closely with them to ensure a smooth transition.
In the Chairman role, I will continue to have oversight of the business and will focus on managing relationships with our content partners – making sure we continue to have the right partnerships in place. I will also provide advisory services to the team, as needed.
This change has been on the horizon since Sony took a majority interest in the company in 2017. And now is the right time to begin the transition, when Funimation is truly hitting its stride. We’ve grown into a $130M+ business with a robust offering available in the US, Australia, New Zealand, the UK and Ireland, with plans to expand to more territories. FunimationNow is adding revenue streams and deepening our fan base, as well as exploring opportunities in original production. And, we’re seeing a major win with the exceptional box office performance of our feature film Dragon Ball Super: Broly. That said, we’re in great shape to continue building on our solid foundation and momentum.
As we work through this transition, I want to thank you for maintaining your focus in bringing extraordinary entertainment to our anime fans everywhere. I started Funimation with a vision to make anime as accessible as possible to fans across the world. Because of your passion, dedication and hard work, I believe the company is better equipped than ever to deliver on that vision, and I’m incredibly proud of what we’ve built together. I am grateful to all of you and look forward to our next chapter together.
Gen Fukunaga founded Funimation in May 1994 with his wife Cindy. The organization was acquired by Navarre in 2005, which saw the organization renamed to Funimation Entertainment. In 2011, Funimation was purchased from Navarre by a group of investors led by Fukunaga. The organization remained independent until October 2017, when Sony Pictures acquired 95% of Funimation for $143 million.
At the time of purchase, Bloomberg reported that Funimation takes in over than $100 million in annual sales, and has exceeded 10% year-over-year-growth since 2013. In addition to DVD and Blu-Ray sales, Funimation’s operations include merchandising, the Funimation Films theatrical division, and streaming service FunimationNow.
On October 9, 2018, the publisher exited a two-year content sharing agreement with Crunchyroll, which saw all of Funimation’s content removed from the platform, and vice versa.
On December 4, 2018, Funimation and Hulu announced that they entered into an exclusive first-look content agreement, which grants Hulu the first pick on all of Funimation’s upcoming titles.