FaZe Clan‘s continued struggles are bringing big changes to the top of its organization. Bloomberg has reported that the gaming and entertainment company has fired Lee Trink, ending his five-year run as FaZe’s chief exec.
Though once hailed as a potential unicorn in the creator economy, FaZe Clan’s stock price reached its lowest point on September 8, trading for just 23 cents per share. A day later, the company’s board revealed its decision to let go of Trink. Former FaZe CFO Christoph Pachler will take over as the new CEO.
When Trink first began advising FaZe in 2016, he was a strange bedfellow for the organization. The company’s founding members were hotshot creators who existed at the confluence of sports, gaming, and entertainment. Trink, on the other hand, was a recording industry veteran who saw star potential amidst FaZe’s talent roster.
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By naming Trink as CEO, FaZe hoped to turn its cultural capital into literal capital. “We’ve only just scratched the surface,” Trink told Tubefilter in a 2018 interview. “The buzz around e-sports is disproportionately large compared to the money. I think we’re in the first inning of e-sports’ rise as an economic powerhouse in sports.”
For a time, it seemed as if Trink would achieve his lofty goals. As FaZe prepared to go public via a SPAC offering, Trink celebrated to the “decorated and successful esports franchises” that had been built under his watch.
One disastrous IPO later, FaZe’s fortunes look different. Its investors defaulted on nearly three-quarters of the funds that had been pledged for the SPAC merger, and its stock price took a nosedive. Trink then announced multiple rounds of layoffs, but the damage was already done. According to Bloomberg, FaZe absorbed a $48.7 million operational loss last year.
FaZe has also endured some cultural friction, with several longtime members criticizing the priorities of the company’s upper management. Top-level clashes led to the departure of execs like Greg Selkoe, who formed gaming org XSET in 2020. “We didn’t leave on good terms,” Selkoe told Bloomberg. He criticized Trink’s leadership style and the mostly-male makeup of FaZe’s talent roster. Bloomberg could not reach the ousted CEO for comment.
Pachler will step into FaZe’s CEO position during a do-or-die period for the company. According to esports analyst Jake Lucky, FaZe Clan could be delisted from the Nasdaq exchange if it fails to get its stock price above $1 per share by September 19.