In July, Nintendo president and CEO Satoru Iwata sadly passed away at just 55. While managing directors Shigeru Miyamoto and Genyo Takeda were chosen to run the company in the interim, the plan was to find a new president to lead the company.
Today Nintendo announced that managing director and head of human resources Tatsumi Kimishima, 65, is the new president of the company (PDF link). Miyamoto and Takeda will remain in top roles at the company, but will be able to return to their other duties now that Kimishima has been chosen for the new role.
Kimishima is no stranger to top-level leadership at Nintendo. In 2002, Kimishima was chosen as president of Nintendo of America. Four years later he was promoted to CEO of Nintendo of America and stayed in that role until it was assumed by Iwata in 2013. Previously Kimishima had served as CFO of The Pokemon Company.
While Kimishima certainly has proven leadership skills, he will likely be a very different president than Iwata was. Iwata was both technically minded and a true gamer at heart, bringing an enthusiasm that will be difficult if not impossible to replace: On two occasions Iwata took 50 percent pay cuts rather than cut staff.
Miyamoto and Takeda remaining in top-level positions is likely intended to keep some of this spirit alive within the company. Miyamoto — creator of the Mario, Zelda, and Pikmin games — will assume the role of creative fellow, while Takeda has been named technology fellow.
Nintendo defines a fellow as “an individual selected from among the representative directors who has advanced knowledge and extensive experience, and holds the role of providing advice and guidance regarding organizational operations in a specialized area.”
It’s an interesting time for Nintendo and the next few years will certainly put Kimishima’s leadership skills to the test. Details on the company’s new console, codenamed NX, are expected next year, and the company is preparing to launch its first mobile games in partnership with DeNA.