For twenty-five years Gen Fukunaga has served as the president and general manager of Funimation Entertainment, the popular anime video streaming service he founded in 1994. It was announced on Friday, February 1st he will resign from the leadership role and will move over to serve in the new position as chairman of the company’s board of directors. In a publicly released statement, he wrote the following memo to the company’s employees:
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]
Late in 2018 the company had signed a business deal with Hulu to be the only other video streaming service within the United States to have priority access to stream newly released anime programming created, produced, and streamed by Funimation. The signed agreement goes into affect at the start of the new year.
Sony Pictures Television acquired a 95% share of Funimation in the summer of 2017, leaving Fukunaga with the remaining 5% ownership share. The transaction was agreed upon for $143 million, which proceeded with the termination of a partnership between Funimation and Crunchyroll, which is their most prominent competition in the United States for video streaming subscription services exclusively for anime content.
The company headquarters is located in Flower Mound, a city located between the Dallas and Fort Worth metro regions in north Texas.