Satoru Iwata, the late president of Japanese gaming giant Nintendo, passed away earlier this year from bile duct cancer, creating a void that will be difficult to fill. Iwata guided the company for over 30 years, overseeing the development and success of the Pokemon and Super Smash Bros. franchises and the development of the Wii U gaming system, some of Nintendo’s most successful projects to date.
It has been announced that Iwata’s replacement will be Tatsumi Kimishima, a 65 year old human resources executive who will step up as the new president of Nintendo. Kimishima began his career as a banker, working with corporate planning, international business development, and corporate communications. These skills served him well when he was appointed the Chief Financial Officer of the Pokemon Company in 2000.
He was since shuffled through different branches of Nintendo as the company struggled to deal with diminishing sales in the wake of Sony and Microsoft’s introduction into the market. He has been acting as the director of human resources for Nintendo for several years now, and it is his experience there, as well as in his other executive roles over the years, that led to his promotion to president.
Iwata was a powerful personality that will need to be replaced with three different positions instead of just one. Software and hardware, which Iwata previously took a large role in guiding, are now under the creator of Mario and Zelda, Shigeru Miyamoto, and the lead designer of the Wii console, Genyo Takeda.
Kimishima will be using the experience he gained in human resources to fulfill the administrative functions of Iwata’s old role, and to help lead up the mysterious quality of life initiative that Nintendo’s executive team has been whispering about for some time now.
Miyamoto and Takeda, who had been handling Iwata’s responsibilities in the interim, will assist Kimishima in the transition, but it remains to be seen how he will shape Nintendo in the years to come.