Nintendo of America President and COO Reggie Fils-Aime to Step Down

Neilson Barnard/Getty Images for Nintendo of America
Reggie Fils-Aime

The longtime face of the company's North American offices is set to retire on April 15.

Reggie Fils-Aime, Nintendo of America's president and COO, is stepping down from his role and will be succeeded by senior vp sales and marketing Doug Bowser. Fils-Aime's last day with the gaming company will be April 15.

Fils-Aime has been with Nintendo of America for 15 years, serving as president and COO for over 12 years. He began his career at Nintendo in 2003 as executive vp sales and marketing, and rose to his current position in May 2006. Under Fils-Aime's leadership, Nintendo posted record-breaking profits and launched best-selling consoles, such as the Nintendo Wii in 2006, which sold over 101 million units in its lifetime, and the Nintendo Switch in 2017, which was the best-selling console of 2018 and has sold over 20 million units worldwide.

Also during Fils-Aime's tenure, Nintendo expanded its physical presence stateside, establishing an office in Redwood City, California, and a new Nintendo of America headquarters in Redmond, Washington.

“I really appreciate everything Reggie has done for Nintendo,” Nintendo Co. president Shuntaro Furukawa said Thursday in a statement. “Inside and outside our company, Reggie is known as an exceptional leader. We are grateful that he is leaving the business in good shape with strong momentum. While we will miss him and we wish him the very best in his retirement, we are also pleased to have such an able successor ready to step into that role. Doug Bowser and the rest of the team will ensure a seamless transition and continued momentum for Nintendo.”

“Nintendo owns a part of my heart forever,” said Fils-Aime. “It’s a part that is filled with gratitude — for the incredibly talented people I’ve worked with, for the opportunity to represent such a wonderful brand, and most of all, to feel like a member of the world’s most positive and enduring gamer community. As I look forward to departing in both good health and good humor, this is not ‘game over’ for me, but instead ‘leveling up’ to more time with my wife, family and friends.”

The news of Fils-Aime's departure is somewhat surprising, given some of the recent milestones the company achieved under his leadership. In January, the Nintendo Switch became the fastest-selling home console of all time in the U.S., and the 2018 holiday season delivered massive sales. Over the five-day period between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday alone, Nintendo Switch had the best-selling five days in its history, with overall Nintendo sales topping $250 million. Shortly thereafter, the launch of Switch exclusive title Super Smash Bros. Ultimate was the best in the franchise's history, and the game has already sold over 12 million units since its release in December.

However, despite the strong holiday sales, Nintendo did readjust its ambitious sales expectations of 20 million consoles sold this fiscal year and, as a result, the company's stock fell over 9 percent in early February. 

Fils-Aime has become a star in his own right over the years, often speaking directly to his audience at conventions and in video clips. On Thursday, after the news of his retirement broke, Fils-Aime addressed his departure in a short video shared on Twitter by the company. “I wanted to reach out directly to you, the Nintendo community, because there’s one thing I really want to say: Thank you,” he said in the clip.

Fils-Aime's successor Bowser has been with Nintendo of America since May 2015. He joined as vice president of sales before being promoted to his current position as senior vp sales and marketing in 2016. Bowser led the sales and marketing efforts for the Nintendo Switch, the fastest-selling video game system of the current generation through its first 21 months on the market, according to data from The NPD Group.

“It has been my great fortune to work with and be mentored by Reggie for four years at Nintendo of America,” Bowser said. “And rest assured, we will continue to build on his work to evolve and expand our brand, furthering Nintendo’s global mission of creating smiles. There are millions more of those to come.”