Kimishima was a surprise choice to many, coming from the not-so-glamourous position of head of human resources for the Japanese video game giant. But prior to that, he served a variety of roles since joining the company in 2000, including CFO of Pokémon, president of Bellevue-based Pokémon of America and CEO of Redmond-based Nintendo of America from 2002 to 2006.
He takes over during a critical time, as Nintendo tries to take a fresh look at its business and keep up with the changing technology landscape. Earlier this year the company announced a partnership with DeNA to make some of its first games for smartphones and tablets. The company is also working on the Nintendo NX, its next gaming console that looks to put things back on track after the Wii U failed to take off.
Kimishima will be a different kind of leader for the company, as his background is more on the business side of things. Iwata, on the other hand, moved into the top spot after a career of hands on game building. He was beloved during his 13 years at the helm, known for innovative and bold bets that — for the most part — paid off.