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Nintendo president set to retire, with replacement named

Kimishima will step down in June

Nintendo president Tatsumi Kimishima speaking in Tokyo in February 2018.
Tatsumi Kimishima speaking in Tokyo in February 2018.
Kyodo News via Getty Images

Nintendo president Tatsumi Kimishima will step down from his position at the end of June, the company announced alongside its latest financial earnings report.

Kimishima will retire from office as of June 28, pending shareholder approval, according to a company release. At that time, his replacement will assume the title of representative director and president.

That person is Shuntaro Furukawa, who currently runs Nintendo’s global marketing department. Furukawa has been with Nintendo since 1994, and he’s worked in other roles throughout his tenure. He’s also The Pokémon Company’s outside director and Nintendo’s managing executive officer.

But what’s most interesting about naming Furukawa as Kimishima’s successor is his age. Furukawa was born in 1972; he’ll be 46 when he begins his new job as president. That’s a significant difference from Kimishima, who turned 68 earlier this month. At 46, Furukawa will be much closer in age to Satoru Iwata, the longtime president and CEO who died in July 2015 after more than a decade as Nintendo’s head. While Iwata was 55 when he died, the beloved company head assumed office the year of his 43rd birthday. With his youth, he brought a special kind of energy to Nintendo, where he was its first new head in more than 50 years.

Kimishima’s time in office, while much shorter than that of Iwata or previous president Hiroshi Yamauchi, will also be remembered fondly for its successes. Nintendo Switch launched 18 months after Kimishima became president in September 2015, and it continues to be a sales powerhouse. We’ve also seen some of the best Nintendo games ever during Kimishima’s two-and-a-half years as president.

In the financials reported on Thursday, Nintendo said it has sold 10.4 million copies of Super Mario Odyssey, which launched at the end of October. The earnings report covers the fiscal year ending March 31, so it does not include the quirky and lovely Nintendo Labo hardware line that launched one week ago.

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