Nintendo president Tatsumi Kimishima is stepping down, and a new president has already been selected.
Shuntaro Furukawa, a board member for The Pokémon Company and head of Nintendo’s global marketing, will be the new president of Nintendo.
Kimishima’s tenure as president was short—the shortest of any Nintendo president, in fact. However, just because it was short doesn’t mean it wasn’t one of the most important moments in the company’s long history.
Following the sudden 2015 passing of Satoru Iwata, who was arguably one of the most adored executives in video game history, Kimishima stepped up to fill Iwata’s shoes in what was always meant to be a somewhat temporary role. During his short tenure as president, Kimishima oversaw the development and launch of the Switch while also securing deals with Universal to open several theme parks over the next few years. To say that Kimishima did the best he could under the circumstances is an understatement of massive proportions.
It sounds like the main reason that Kimishima is handing over the keys to Furukawa is that the 68-year-old president is planning for his retirement. According to Nikkei, Kimishima believed that a younger president (Furukawa is 46, around the same age as Iwata when he became president) could better help Nintendo understand and connect with its customers. The plan, apparently, was to wait until hardware sales stabilized before making any leadership changes.
Obviously, the Switch’s hardware sales are more than stable, and with E3 2018 just around the corner, promoting Furukawa to president now makes sense for Nintendo. E3 2018 will be the perfect time to fully introduce Furukawa to Nintendo’s fans, especially with many Switch owners anticipating big announcements about the next Super Smash Bros. and Pokémon titles.
Furukawa previously served as outside director of the Pokémon Company and was involved with the Switch’s sales and marketing plans. He will only be Nintendo’s sixth president over the company’s 128-year history, so it will be interesting to see what kind of long-term plans Furukawa has in mind for the company and if he will be able to get a Switch in the hands of literally every person in the world.