Nintendo announced today that Tatsumi Kimishima will step down as its president in June.
Kimishima has served as the company's president since September 2015, at which time he succeeded Satoru Iwata upon the latter's death in July of that year. Since then, Kimishima has overseen falling sales with the Wii U (and to some extent the 3DS) near the start of his presidency, and a resurgent Nintendo with a huge upsurge in profits more recently with the release of the Switch, the company's latest console outing. His decision to step down comes into effect at the end of his term as Representative Director & President on June 28th, 2018. Kimishima will be remaining at Nintendo in an advisory capacity.
Shuntaro Furukawa will serve as Kimishima's replacement. The 46-year-old Furukawa has experience with Nintendo since 2012 and currently serves on the boards of both Nintendo and The Pokémon Company. Furukawa's current job titles include, among others, Director, Managing Executive Officer, and Supervisor of Corporate Analysis & Administration Division. Furukawa was also involved with marketing and sales plans for the Switch, as well as working extensively in Europe, prior to his appointment as president of the company. In terms of what this means for Nintendo as a company, Furukawa appeared at a news conference, where he proclaimed his intention for Nintendo to "develop the company to its fullest", as well as to "balance Nintendo’s traditions: originality and flexibility".
According to sources, Kimishima's stepping down and replacement is not due to any corporate dissatisfaction with his performance. Kimishima had been looking for some time to retire and "pass the baton" on to a younger generation. His philosophy was that, in order to better understand its consumer base, Nintendo's management needed to skew younger, but Nintendo decided to wait until its sales numbers improved before replacing Kimishima. With the success of the Switch, now is pretty much a perfect time to do just that, it seems.
What do you think Shuntaro Furukawa's appointment signals for Nintendo? Any thoughts on Kimishima? Let us know in the comments below!