The transition is occurring as Crunchyroll and Funimation continue to integrate their operations. AT&T sold Crunchyroll to Sony last year for $1.175 billion and the two anime operations have been joining forces in recent months.
Purini has been COO of Crunchyroll after holding the same title at Funimation.
Keith Le Goy, chairman of worldwide distribution and networks for Sony Pictures Entertainment, confirmed the move in a memo to employees. (Read it in full below.) Decker “championed and played a key role in our acquisition of Crunchyroll,” Le Goy noted, while Purini has been “instrumental in the company’s global and subscription growth” during his Sony exec stint.
“It is an honor and a privilege for me to take on this new role, and to drive the next chapter of Crunchyroll forward,” Purini said in a statement provided to Deadline. “Having spent the last seven years involved in nearly every facet of the business, and seeing how far we’ve come – the opportunity ahead is bright, and I look forward to what we will do together next.”
Decker saluted the troops at the anime brand. “Because of your dedication, resilience, and belief, we have realized what seemed impossible just a few years ago,” he said.
The anime business is targeted but lucrative. Fans of the genre are often willing to spend on not only screen offerings but merchandise and other exclusives tied to their favorite properties. Just prior to the close of the merger last summer, Crunchyroll said it had surpassed 5 million streaming subscribers.
Here is Le Goy’s full memo:
I’m writing to share some important news about changes to our Crunchyroll leadership team.
After more than three years at Sony, Colin Decker has decided to step down from his role as CEO of Crunchyroll, having worked passionately and diligently to bring our anime business to the successful point it is today. Colin led our Funimation business to an exponential level of growth and was instrumental in forging a great relationship with our partners at Aniplex. He championed and played a key role in our acquisition of Crunchyroll and has successfully led the integration of the two businesses, unifying them under the Crunchyroll brand.
With Colin’s departure, Rahul Purini will assume oversight of the business as President of Crunchyroll. As the longtime COO of Funimation and Crunchyroll, Rahul has been instrumental in the company’s global and subscription growth as a key member of the leadership teams for the past seven years. He has expertly led strategic day-to-day operations, Global Commerce, our production studios, content programming, and business intelligence and analytics functions. I have every confidence that Rahul will successfully take Crunchyroll into its next exciting chapter.
Our anime business is stronger than ever and remains a vital part of our overall strategy at SPE and Sony Group. It’s a fan-tastic time for the business and for the growing global anime fan community. We are seeing substantial subscriber growth and are looking forward to some incredible new content coming to the service in the months ahead. The unification is well underway and going even better than planned, and we are really excited about the growth opportunities in manga, e-commerce, and mobile gaming. Not to mention the recent box office success of Jujutsu Kaisen 0, which has grossed $34M in the U.S. and is the #4 highest grossing anime film in U.S. box office history.
Colin will remain with us over the next few weeks to help ensure a smooth transition. In the meantime, please join me in thanking Colin for his many contributions and wishing him the very best for the future.