EVERETT, Wash.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Funko, Inc. (“Funko”) (Nasdaq: FNKO), a leading pop culture lifestyle brand, announced that Brian Mariotti will take a leave of absence and cease serving as Funko’s CEO with full support from the company’s Board of Directors. Effective immediately, the Board of Directors appointed director Michael Lunsford as interim CEO and will also commence a thorough search for a new CEO including internal and external candidates. Mariotti remains a member of the Funko Board of Directors.
“Funko has been my labor of love for nearly two decades,” said Mariotti. “While I'm going to step away from the day-to-day business to recharge my batteries, I plan to stay active on our Board. I hope to come back and contribute to Funko again in new creative ways. I look forward to seeing our team and fans at San Diego Comic-Con next week.”
“Brian has been the driving force of Funko for years and his contributions are found throughout the company’s product and retail innovations,” said Chairman Charles Denson. “I am thrilled that Mike can seamlessly step in, while Brian takes some time. We will continue evolving this fan-first brand for the future in a creative and meaningful way.”
Lunsford, who joined the Funko Board of Directors in 2018, previously served as Chair of the Compensation Committee and as a member of the Audit Committee. Notably, Lunsford has also previously demonstrated his leadership capabilities by stepping in as interim CEO for two prominent public companies, EarthLink and RealNetworks. In both instances, he adeptly navigated transitional periods following the conclusion of the CEO and founders' tenures, allowing for smooth continuity and organizational success. This will be the sixth chief executive role for Lunsford.
“Brian and the Funko team have created an iconic and beloved brand, and I am honored to expand my role with the organization in the coming months,” said Lunsford. “In partnership with CFO/COO Steve Nave, President Andrew Perlmutter and the leadership team, we will carefully guide the company’s efforts to grow profitability while continuing to delight our deeply connected fan community. I am very excited to spend time with our fans, employees, investors and partners as we pursue the quest to capture the zeitgeist for pop culture enthusiasts.”
Headquartered in Everett, Washington, Funko is a leading 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. Learn more at www.funko.com, and follow us on Twitter (@OriginalFunko) and Instagram (@OriginalFunko).
This press release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. All statements contained in this press release that do not relate to matters of historical fact should be considered forward-looking statements, including statements regarding leadership changes and related benefits, future committee composition, the Company’s ability to grow profitability, and strategic priorities. These forward-looking statements are based on management’s current expectations. These statements are neither promises nor guarantees, but involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other important factors that may cause our actual results, performance or achievements to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by the forward-looking statements, including, but not limited to, the following: our ability to attract and retain qualified employees and maintain our corporate culture; impacts from economic downturns; our ability to execute our business strategy; our ability to compete effectively; fluctuations in our gross margin; our ability to manage our inventories; any failure to successfully integrate or realize the anticipated benefits of acquisitions, investments, restructuring or organizational changes; risks relating to our indebtedness and our ability to secure additional financing; and the influence of our significant stockholder, The Chernin Group (“TCG”), and the possibility that TCG’s interests may conflict with the interests of our other stockholders. These and other important factors discussed under the caption “Risk Factors” in our quarterly report on Form 10-Q for the quarter ended March 31, 2023, and our other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission could cause actual results to differ materially from those indicated by the forward-looking statements made in this press release. Any such forward-looking statements represent management’s estimates as of the date of this press release. While we may elect to update such forward-looking statements at some point in the future, we disclaim any obligation to do so, even if subsequent events cause our views to change. These forward-looking statements should not be relied upon as representing our views as of any date subsequent to the date of this press release.