Thornbird was established in July 2011 after its founder, Adrian Funkey decided to leave the corporate world and explore his entrepreneurial instincts. As a qualified chartered accountant Adrian rose to high levels within the blue chip companies he worked for during his corporate career.
Adrian in his position as CEO of Grand Parade Investments Limited was exposed to the full ambit of successfully running a newly listed business. He arrived on the scene after a successful career at Sun International where he honed his skills in the gambling and leisure sector and was privileged to have learnt from the very best the industry had to offer. He was lucky as he was able to hit the ground running at GPI, while at the same time putting his business development skills to work, which he had mastered through the many casinos he was involved in developing from scratch.
This was necessary given that GPI had listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) and laying down a sustainable operating foot print was crucially important. In his short tenure he was able to reposition GPI from being an investment company run by a non-executive executive committee to a fully fledged gambling business specialising in the Limited Payout Machine Industry.
He pulled off some great deals for GPI’s shareholders, none more so than the deal with Sun International just prior to his exit.
Given that it was never Adrian's intention to become a career CEO, the timing of his exit from GPI was perfect, as at the age of 43 he had time on his side to explore his entrepreneurial talents, while also exiting on a high note, having put in place structures, which will last for many years to come.