Analysts are of the opinion senior managing director and current co-representative director Genyo Takeda is a likely candidate to replace Satoru Iwata as Nintendo’s new CEO and president.
Speaking with GI.biz, some of the analysts are hedging their bets on Takeda, who is co-running the company alongside senior managing director Shigeru Miyamoto until a successor for Satoru Iwata is appointed. Many feel it’s unlikely Nintendo will name Miyamoto head of the company, and considering he is “king of Nintendo’s first-party content,” it’s unlikely he’d want the position anyway.
“Although it would be a romantic dream to have the company lead by the father of Mario, I think Takeda-san has more corporate experience and really understands hardware; it was he who argued for a new interface for the Wii rather than just a faster Gamecube with better graphics,” said Nick Parker of Parker Consulting.
“The alternative would be a relative unknown from within, from which there is a deep pool of loyal, long serving (25 years+) candidates. [Nintendo] needs somebody who understands the company culture, can respond to global consumer expectations, and manage an enviable balance sheet.”
EEDAR’s Mike Schramm also feels due to being one of the main developers on Wii, Takeda or another employee who “had a hand in game development at some point” will be the ideal candidate.
No matter who is chosen, Schramm feels while Iwata was a “consumer-focused CEO,” Nintendo’s next leader may “instead focus on the hardware, selling the product directly rather than the community that comes with it.”
“Iwata called for accessibility with the Wii and the DS, and the next leader might push for exclusivity or certain audiences instead,” he added. “A lot of the elements that Iwata championed like fun, imagination, innovation, and accessibility, are definitely part of Nintendo’s DNA no matter who’s in charge, but the next leader may approach those elements in a different way.”
IDC research manager Lewis Ward said that while he couldn’t speculate on who would replace Iwata, the background of that individual “will say a lot about where Nintendo wants to go in the next several years,” which will be “crucial to the company’s long-term fortunes.”
Nintendo announced Iwata’s passing last week. The much-loved CEO was mourned by over 4,000 people during the traditional two-day funeral. Takeda delivered the eulogy.