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Nintendo Names New President, European Head Returning To Japan

by Donald Theriault - April 26, 2018, 12:52 am PDT
Total comments: 12 Source: Nintendo

All to take effect in June.

Some changes are coming to Nintendo at the top starting at the annual shareholder's meeting in June.

Tatsumi Kimishima, who served as the president of the company for two years following the passing of Satoru Iwata, is stepping aside in June. The 68 year old Kimishima will serve as an advisor to the new president, 46 year old Shuntaro Furukawa.

Furukawa joined Nintendo in 1994, and has been serving as the company's director of global marketing since September of 2016. He has also been in a director's role at The Pokemon Company, as well as being the general manager of Nintendo's Corporate Planning Department since 2015.

Satoru Shibata, the current executive head of Nintendo of Europe, has also been promoted to a Senior Executive Officer at the main Nintendo office in Japan. Known publicly for his appearances in the European version of Nintendo Directs, he will also be entering his new role in June. No replacement head of NoE has been named.

Takashi Tezuka and Yoshiaki Koizumi, two prominent developers, are expected to be named to the board as Executive Officers. Tezuka was a key developer for the Legend of Zelda and Mario series, while Koizumi was director of the Super Mario Galaxy series and producer on Super Mario Odyssey in addition to being the host of recent Directs.

Talkback

LemonadeApril 26, 2018

Thats some very interesting and unexpected news. Hopefully Furukawa will be a good president.

ChiramiiApril 26, 2018

Taking Shibata away from us like that. How rude. No more karaoke and "Happy gaming!" directs for us then. :(

ShyGuyApril 26, 2018

I thought it would be Koizumi

ClexYoshiApril 26, 2018

this seems all about right, although it does make me sad that a marketing guy is going to get to take the CEO position after so many years of having someone with development experience in that chair.

i'm happy for the likes of Tezuka-san and Koizumi-san, although I hope they don't get too bogged down by this and continue to do plenty of producer work. I especially resonate with Koizumi, who is an artist at heart. At the same time, Tezuka's later directorial roles stand as some of the most influential games in my gaming lexicon.

LemonadeApril 26, 2018

Quote from: Chiramii

Taking Shibata away from us like that.

http://i.kinja-img.com/gawker-media/image/upload/s--AbQr7Gi6--/szrtm2rplozzoorok007.gif

MASBApril 26, 2018

You always have the best gifs, Lemonade! :)

I remember when Iwata died, that Shinya Takahashi was strongly rumored to be the top choice within Nintendo, but was passed over in favor of Kimishima, to give him a few more years of experience. Instead, he gets yet another promotion, but stays the head of games development. I wonder if those rumors didn't have any truth to them or if something changed in the past few years.

Advice for any NWR dwellers who want to become Nintendo's president someday: Join the corporate planning department! As Iwata, Kimishima and now, Furukawa demonstrate, it's the path to the top!

Luigi DudeApril 26, 2018

Even though I would have preferred someone with game design experience, at least he's been with the company a long time and sounds like someone who has good standings with the rest of the staff.  Basically after what happened to the rest of the Japanese industry the last decade I hope he isn't going to be a slave to the shareholders and chop up parts of the company to please them.

Plus he says he grew up playing the Famicom and his recent favorite game is Golf Story so even if he's never been involved in creating games at least he's a gamer who enjoys playing them.  I'd imagine someone like this would still want Nintendo to create the best games possible, unlike most of the other Japanese CEO's who're still greedy old fucks who have never played a game in their life, never even interact with the designers because they view them as mindless workers that are beneath them and have no problem destroying their game divisions in order to make a quick yen as soon as the shareholders demand it.

Ian SaneApril 26, 2018

I'm not sure what to think of this.  Right now with the Switch Nintendo seems to "get it" in a way I haven't seen since the SNES.  This coincides with Kimishima's presidency.  Now is that just a coincidence since a lot of the Switch's design would have been started during Iwata's term or did Kimishima specifically steer Nintendo's head out of their ass?  It just seems like now is a very odd time to switch presidents.  It's like a sports team finally winning a championship after a 20 year drought and then the relatively new coach steps down.

Linkle LinkApril 26, 2018

Quote from: Lemonade

Quote from: Chiramii

Taking Shibata away from us like that.

http://i.kinja-img.com/gawker-media/image/upload/s--AbQr7Gi6--/szrtm2rplozzoorok007.gif

How to get promoted at Nintendo.


This is a surprise. I wonder if the demands of the job and Kimishima's age were a factor. Still Kimishima's presidency seems to be the equivalent of a mic drop. I wonder if this shake-up will affect whatever consoles/handhelds Nintendo is now already thinking of and developing for the future.

AdrockApril 26, 2018

Tatsumi Kimishima was originally elected Nintendo’s president for a single year. I was under the impression that his stint as president was always intended to be relatively short-term. Given his track record, he was presumably brought on to bring stability following Iwata’s passing.

Not to take anything away from Kimishima, but Switch was created under Iwata’s watch, methodically dropping numerous hints for years before his death. Iwata set the course; Kimishima simply kept Nintendo on that path. He may have had a hand in releasing Switch in 2017 rather than rushing it for a holiday 2016 release. He was a tried and true businessman with the credentials to back it up. There probably weren’t many people equipped to lead and guide Nintendo post-Iwata.

I don’t know much about Shuntaro Furukawa. I’m excited by how young he is. There were times when it seemed like there was a generational gap at the top of Nintendo, as if they didn’t understand that people like things such as integrated voice chat. At the same time, I don’t want Nintendo to stop taking chances and thinking outside the box. Nintendo should continue marching to its own beat, but it can stand to admit when Sony or Microsoft did something right and integrate those ideas.

Luigi DudeApril 26, 2018

Quote from: Linkle

This is a surprise. I wonder if the demands of the job and Kimishima's age were a factor. Still Kimishima's presidency seems to be the equivalent of a mic drop. I wonder if this shake-up will affect whatever consoles/handhelds Nintendo is now already thinking of and developing for the future.

This has been planned for awhile so I'd imagine everything Kimishima approved, Furukawa was in the loop.  It's very similar to how even though Iwata and Yamauchi had completely different personalities, they both had a very similar vision for the company and Iwata becoming president didn't effect any major changes during the Gamecube era.  Plus some of the early prototypes and concepts for the DS had started while Yamauchi was still president as well so Nintendo likes to plan far in advance.

Plus when thinking about it, I wonder if Furukawa is the person Iwata himself might have been grooming while he was still alive.  There were reports Iwata had someone in mind to succeed him but this person was considered not ready yet.  Now many thought it was another game designer but maybe this is the guy Iwata really had in mind?  I mean it turns out after Iwata died, Furukawa was promoted to a job Iwata himself had before becoming president so maybe this is his own hand picked successor.  If that's the case I feel pretty confident Furukawa can handle the job.

There was another name being thrown around as a possible successor in Shinya Takahashi, who's role as head of the planning and development division seems to be expanding at the same time.

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