A former banker for Sanwa Bank of Japan, Kimishima began his work at Nintendo as Chief Financial Officer of the Pokemon Company in 2000, becoming the President of Pokemon USA in 2001. Later Kimishima would serve as the President of Nintendo of America from 2002 until 2006 where he would be replaced by Reggie Fils-Aime. He also became the managing director of Nintendo’s human resources branch in June 2014.
Iwata passed two months ago at the age of 55 due to a bile duct growth. Iwata was a very public figure at Nintendo, often appearing in Nintendo Direct videos and promos in a humorous role. The decision of Nintendo’s Board of Directors to elect a more numbers-focused figure as their president reflects the, “large-scale revision of the organizational structure of the Company” and the addition of Nintendo’s new role of, “fellow”.
A fellow is defined 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.” Genyo Takeda, current general manager of Nintendo’s integrated research division and acting Representative Director of Nintendo, will take the title of “technology fellow,” while the famed Shigeru Miyamoto, will become Nintendo’s “creative fellow.”
These changes are set to take affect on Sept. 16.
Kimishima will be taking his role at a turbulent time of change for Nintendo. The Wii U’s sales have surpassed the 10 Million units mark thanks in part to the success of Splatoon, but this number pales in comparison to the PS4’s mark of over 20.2 Million reached back in March. Despite selling over 53 million units worldwide, sales of the 3DS have also slowed due to an infrequent release of high profile games. All this means the company isn’t seeing the explosive figures it saw with the Wii, which has sold over 100 million units worldwide, and the Nintendo DS, currently the world’s second top-selling game system. A number-cruncher like Kimishima might be what the company needs to see repeated success with the Wii U, 3DS, and the mysterious upcoming NX.