Nintendo cuts CEO salary in half

After the company’s stock hit a six-year low yesterday, Nintendo executives are feeling the heat. Iwata

Satoru Iwata, global president and CEO of the game giant, effectively fell on his sword for the 3DS’s lagging performance, today announcing he felt a “very great responsibility” for the situation and would be taking a 50 percent salary cut.

Other executives will share the blame and attempt to help the company make up for substantial quarterly losses. In addition to Iwata’s salary reduction, members of the board of directors are taking a 30 percent pay cut, while other executives will see their paychecks cut by 20 percent. (It’s unclear how long the cuts will be in effect.)

It’s a startling move for American consumers, who are used to the duck-and-cover gameplay of Wall Street CEOs. Japanese executives, though, work under a different philosophy, taking direct responsibility for shortfalls.

Iwata, in fact, is one of the lower paid CEOs in the industry among major publishers. Last year, he earned just $1.8 million in compensation – compared to, say, Activision-Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick, who received $5.6 million in salary, stock options and bonuses last year (and currently holds $82 million in unexercised options, according to Forbes).

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