Japanese gaming giant Nintendo announced on Monday that is promoting 65-year-old managing director and ex-Pokémon boss Tatsumi Kimishima to company president following the tragic death of Satoru Iwata in July.
Mr Kimishima, who became a managing director in June 2013, has been with Nintendo since 2000. He previously ran both The Pokémon Company and Nintendo of America, where he oversaw the US introduction of the Wii console and the 3DS.
Unlike the much-loved Iwata, Kimishima comes from a financial rather than a gaming background. Nintendo will be hoping its new head’s business expertise will help turn around the company’s ailing fortunes, as it struggles to compete in an industry dominated by rival gaming consoles from Sony and Microsoft.
“We aim to strengthen and enhance the management structure of the company following President Satoru Iwata’s passing on July,” the company said on Monday.
Kimishima is set to become only the fifth person to take up the post in Nintendo’s 125 year history after Iwata’s death from bile duct cancer earlier this year. The late president was the first person to hold the position from outside the Yamauchi family since the company was founded in the late 19th century.
One of the new president’s first tasks will be to oversee the company’s entry into the smartphone games market later this year. Nintendo is also set to debut its multi-platform online membership service this fall and is busy working on a new console, codenamed NX.
Some Nintendo fans were hoping that Mario creator and acting CEO Shigeru Miyamoto would take a permanent position as the head of the company, but he previously stated that he didn’t want the top job and now becomes Nintendo’s ‘Creative Fellow’. The other favorite for the post, former joint acting CEO Genyo Takeda, receives the new title of ‘Technology Fellow’.