Funko, Inc. CEO Brian Mariotti is taking a leave of absence and will cease serving as CEO. The move was made “with the full support of the Funko Board of Directors,” according to the company’s announcement. Mariotti built the company into a global merch (including tabletop games) powerhouse, but its emergence from Covid has been painful; the company lost $61.1 million in its first quarter, which included a $30.1 million inventory write-off (see “Posts $61.1 Million Loss”).
The role of CEO will be filled by director Michael Lunsford on an interim basis and the company undertakes a search for a new CEO. The role is a perfect fit for Lunsford, who has previously served as interim CEO of two public companies as they transitioned from the founders’ tenures EarthLink and RealNetworks. Lunsford has had six previous CEO positions in all.
“Funko has been my labor of love for nearly two decades,” Mariotti said in a statement accompanying the announcement. “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.”