Nintendo’s CEO Among World’s Best

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Nintendo’s CEO, Satoru Iwata, has overseen a dramatic transformation of the Japanese game giant. Mr. Iwata took the helm of Nintendo only a year after the release of GameCube. After falling to second place with the Nintendo 64, Nintendo struggled to gain traction with GameCube.

In just a few years, he took the company in a new direction, while keeping traditional Nintendo powerhouse franchises alive and prospering. The company’s new focus would be more on mass market game appeal through their new Nintendo DS handheld. This past fall Nintendo took an even more radical direction when they released the Wii. Only slightly more powerful than the original Xbox, Wii sacrifices the graphical prowess of PS3 and Xbox 360 for innovation and gameplay.

Perhaps these reasons are why Satoru Iwata is now among the 30 best CEOs in the world, according to a new list compiled by the magazine Barron’s. “Little more than a year ago, it looked like game-over for Nintendo,” the article says. At only 47 years old, Iwata “changed all that with Wii.” The company’s stock price has risen 82.5% in the past year alone, and with the 6 million Wii’s that will be sold by the end of March 2007, it is contending for market leadership.

“We are not fighting against other companies — we are fighting against ignorance of video
games,” Iwata told the magazine. Iwata joins the likes of multi-billionaire Warren Buffett, Steve Jobs of Apple, and the CEOs of GE, American Express, Wells Fargo and News Corp.