After the late Satoru Iwata passed away this past July, Nintendo has been silent on who might be succeeding as company leader. Now, they’ve made a decision. Tatsumi Kimishima will be taking on the role of Nintendo’s president, and has been elected for an initial one-year term by the board.
Kimishima formerly ran Nintendo of America during the GameCube era, namely between 2002 and 2006, and was succeeded by current Nintendo of America president, Reggie Fils-Aime afterward. He also served as the CFO of The Pokemon Company immediately beforehand, and worked at Japan’s Sanwa Bank prior to enlisting with Nintendo, for nearly three decades. After his turn as Nintendo of America president, Kimishima became a Managing Director for the Big N, but up until now, he’s been the head of Human Resources for the company.
Addressing his appointment, which will become official this coming Wednesday, September 16th, Kimishima stated that he received no instructions prior to Iwata’s death in July, and that he will not change the prior objectives and strategies of Iwata, which includes leaving the company’s IP tasks and smartphone game plans unchanged. He aims to create a new era of collective leadership, and will work with Entertainment R&D head, Shigeru Miyamoto and Hardware R&D head, Genyo Takeda, both of whom served as the company’s acting CEO’s until now, to make that happen. Miyamoto and Takeda have received new titles as well, being the, “Creative Fellow” and “Technology Fellow”, respectively, though beyond the name change, they seem to be retaining their former roles as senior managing directors. A revision to Nintendo’s corporate structure is expected to take place after Kimishima’s formal appointment as CEO on Wednesday however.
Kimishima has also stated something rather intriguing about his potential successors, claiming that Nintendo may wish to hire from outside the company after he steps down from his role. This would be a big deal, as the company has been exclusively run by insiders throughout its entire history, with all leaders being from the Yamauchi family, before Satoru Iwata became the first non-Yamauchi to run the company in 2002, himself having a detailed history with Nintendo and its Kirby and Super Smash Bros. subsidiary, HAL Laboratory, as well as Ape Inc., the studio of Earthbound creator, Shigesato Itoi, as a programmer and director.
Kimishima’s exact plans are naturally open for debate, though considering his history with Nintendo of America as well as in Human Resources, on top of his claims of wanting to forge new business directions and partnerships, it seems likely that Kimishima’s first priority is addressing the company’s frequent problem with amassing third-party support with their platforms, at least in the triple-A space. Given that Nintendo is revealing a brand new gaming platform next year, code-named Nintendo NX for now, it’s likely that Kimishima has been chosen for his unique background, so that the board can ensure he sells the company’s new hardware on the right foot, avoiding the unfortunate low sales of the company’s current console, the Wii U.
What do you think of the new Nintendo president? Do you feel that Kimishima is the right man for the job? Did you wish that Miyamoto or Takeda took on the leadership role instead? Do you not care either way? As usual, your comments are welcome below.
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