Nintendo appoints a new CEO after the death of Satoru Iwata

The company is undergoing a major reorganization as it transitions toward mobile gaming

Financial trends and news by Steven Loeb
September 14, 2015
Short URL: http://vator.tv/n/4014

When Satoru Iwata, the long-time President and CEO of Nintendo, died suddenly in July, he left a big legacy, as well as a company still in transition as the world continues to go mobile.

In other words, whoever took over was going to have their work cut out for them.

On Monday, we finally found out who that person will be, as Nintendo announced that Tatsumi Kimishima will be taking over the role as President of the company, beginning on Wednesday.

A former Representative Director of The Pokémon Company, Kimishima has worked for Nintendo since 2002. He had spent the last two years as Managing Director of the company, after spending the previous seven years as CEO of Nintendo of America. Before that he spent almost 20 years as a banking executive.

Iwata had been President of Nintendo for 13 years before his death. In May 2002, less than two years after he joined the company, he was appointed as President when Hiroshi Yamauchi, the company's president since 1949, retired. So obviously when Nintendo appoints someone to this role they expect them to keep it for quite a long time.

Iwata's cause cause of death was listed as a growth in his bile duct, which he had had surgery on in June of last year. He was only 55 years old.

Following his passing, Genyo Takeda and Shigeru Miyamoto, who both hold the titles of Representative Director and Senior Managing Director, took over Iwata's responsibilities. Miyamoto had been rumored to be the most likely candidate for the job.

Iwata's legacy is a mixed one. He is credited with helping sail Nintendo through a transitional period, when it was going up against consoles such as Sony's PlayStation and Microsoft's Xbox by releasing the Wii console and the handheld Nintendo DS.

The Wii has sold more than 101 million units in all, while Nintendo DS models have combined for over 154 million units sold, which makes it the best selling handheld game console of all time.

The company has struggled in recent years, though, as it went up against the rise of mobile gaming, an area that the company, and Iwata, were extremely late to catch on to. In 2012 the company saw its first annual loss in over thirty years. 

It was only earlier this year that the company finally announced a partnership with DeNA to set up a mobile game platform, as well as plans to develop smartphone games with classic Nintendo characters, including Super Mario. This was Iwata's last major act as CEO of Nintendo.

Considering the fact that Super Mario Brothers just turned 30 years old, and yet the franchise is still going strong, indicates that it may not be too late for Nintendo to stay afloat in an ever-changing gaming ecosystem. 

In addition to Kimishima's new job, the company also announced new roles for some of its other executives. With new leadership at the top, Nintendo said that it was implimenting a "large-scale revision of the organizational structure of the Company.:

That includes new roles for Takeda, who will now be a Technology Fellow, and Miyamoto, who now be a Creative Fellow.

Nintento defines a Fellow as, "An individualselected 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." This is something that is being newly established at the company on September 16.

In addition Director Shigeyuki Takahash is being named Supervisor of General Affairs Division, as well as being put in charge of the company's Quality Assurance Department; Director Satoshi Yamato will now be in charge of the company's advertising department; and Director Shinya Takahashi has been made General Manager, Entertainment Planning & Development Division, and Supervisor of Business Development Division, Development Administration & Support Division.

This is going to be an interesting time for Nintendo, as it has finally acknowledged that consoles are the past, and that mobile gaming is what it will have to do if it wants to remain relevant in the years ahead.

(Image source: tweaktown.com)

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