Nintendo of America president and chief operating officer Reggie Fils-Aime is retiring on April 15, Nintendo announced Thursday, ending his 15 years with the company. He will replaced by Doug Bowser, NOA’s current Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing.
“Nintendo owns a part of my heart forever,” Fils-Aime said in a prepared statement. “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.”
Nintendo president Shuntaro Furukawa said Fils-Aime is leaving the company in good shape with strong momentum.
“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.”
Fils-Aime started at Nintendo of America in 2003 as its executive vice president of sales and marketing and became president and COO of Nintendo of America in May 2006. Under his leadership, he greatly expanded the North American territory alongside the launch of major mainstream games like “Nintendogs,” “Brain Age,” “Wii Sports,” and “Wii Fit.”
He was particularly well known for his on-stage, and later on-video, appearances for the company to spell out what fans of Nintendo would be seeing in the near and distant future. His stage presence and good humor led to a strong following among not just Nintendo players and developers, but the industry and its fanbase as a whole.
His online celebrity status was most likely born out of Nintendo’s E3 2004 press conference in which he announced “My name is Reggie. I’m about kicking a**. I’m about taking names. And we’re about making games.” Fils-Aime also made a name for himself as he helped to build out the unusual marketing approach for Nintendo’s unusual console: the Nintendo Wii. His discussion of Nintendo’s “Blue Ocean Strategy” for the Nintendo Wii helped to frame the company’s approach for the Wii to an industry that had been increasingly outmaneuvering the Japanese-based company for years in the console market. In introducing the Wii Board fitness add-on, Fils-Aime took to the stage to famously say “My body is ready” which quickly became a meme for both Fils-Aime and Nintendo.
As with his replacement, Bowser, Fils-Aime worked at Procter & Gamble early in his career.
Bowser joined Nintendo of America in May 2015. Prior to joining Nintendo as vice president of sales, Bowser spent more than eight years at Electronic Arts, most recently as vice president of global business planning. He worked at Procter & Gamble in various roles before that.
In a video published Thursday afternoon, Fils-Aime personally thanked gamers for embracing him as part of Nintendo.
“As I head off in a couple of months to spend more time with my wife, my family, and my friends, I’m handing over the controller to my friend Doug Bowser,” he said. “With a name like Bowser who better to hold the keys to the Nintendo castle.”
He added that he leaves the company in good health and spirits and that “believe me, my body is still ready. From the bottom of my heart thanks again for everything, you are the best.”