Nintendo announced this morning that 65-year-old Tatsumi Kimishima will take the reins as the company’s president, following the sudden death of Satoru Iwata in July.
Kimishima’s relationship with Nintendo began when he became CFO of The Pokémon Company in 2000, eventually becoming president of Pokémon USA and president and then CEO of Nintendo of America. Most recently, he served as director of human resources on Nintendo’s board of directors. Before his time at Nintendo, he served as a banker for over 27 years.
In an interview with Nikkei, translated by analyst Dr. Serkan Toto, Kimishima affirmed that he would continue the path laid out by Iwata as the company cautiously steps its feet into the mobile sector. Despite worries by some fans that he is not as connected to the industry as Iwata was and that he will run Nintendo solely by numbers, he has stated that it is “wrong to lead a gaming company on numbers alone,” and he also predicted the failure of the Wii U upon its introduction, saying that it was too similar to the Wii.
Kimishima has been elected for a one-year term and “doesn’t know what will come next.” He has told Nikkei that he is not against outsiders leading Nintendo in the future, but also plans to develop a new internal group leadership structure. He was also not apparently Iwata’s first choice of a successor, and the company had hoped to find someone younger but did not find a qualified insider.
He takes the reins in a transitional period for Nintendo. The Wii U has been limping all three years since its release, the 3DS is at the end of its lifespan, the mysterious NX platform is set to be unveiled in 2016, the “Quality of Life” platform is on its way, and the company is taking its first steps into mobile gaming. Perhaps the company is hoping Kimishima’s banking background will steer the ship in the right direction financially through this period.
In what seems to be a management shift, Shigeru Miyamoto and Genyo Takeda have been given new roles as “Creative Fellow” and “Technology Fellow,” providing specialized guidance and assistance regarding operations – pointing to possibly a less hands-on role for the two of them.