News on Thursday that Nintendo of America president and COO Reggie Fils-Aime is retiring after more than 15 years with the company, led to an immediate outpouring of support on social media from other industry leaders.
“All the best to Reggie Fils-Aime on the next phase of his life and career,” said head of Xbox Phil Spencer. “Great leader, industry partner and friend.”
“Can’t believe I’m writing this: Reggie Fils-Aime is retiring from Nintendo,” said The Game Awards executive producer and host Geoff Keighley. “One of our industry’s finest leaders and a dear friend. He’s always believed in me. Thank you, Reggie.”
“Enjoy a well deserved rest, my friend. Thanks for everything you did for gaming,” tweeted Sony Santa Monica creative director Cory Barlog. “I am super jealous. Please sleep in and do as little as possible so I can live vicariously through your retirement.”
“One time I was backstage of an awards show about to present and Reggie looked at me and said, ‘You look uncomfortable,'” said EA creative consultant and former “Call of Duty” developer Robert Bowling. “I was. I was uncomfortable. Have fun in retirement Reggie! May you never be uncomfortable.”
“Reggie being replaced by the incredibly appropriately named Doug Bowser, who is a mensch (look that up, fellow babies). Congrats to @thetruebowser!” tweeted Wedbush analyst Michael Pachter.
“Reggie Fils-Aime is stepping down as President & COO of Nintendo and wait, what, no that can’t be right,” said Vlambeer developer Rami Ismail. “Thanks for all the good work, and for the kindness and time the few times we’ve run into each other.”
Meanwhile, “Gears of War” and “Lawbreakers” creator Cliff Bleszinksi reacted to the news with a simple, “Welcome to the club, Reggie.”
Perrin Kaplan is the former vice president of marketing and corporate affairs for Nintendo of America and currently the co-founder of the marketing and PR firm Zebra Partners. She worked at the video game publisher from 1992 to 2008 and said Fils-Aime “left an indelible mark” on the industry.
“I had the honor of working for Reggie for many years. I learned much and laughed much,” she told Variety via email. “He’s left an indelible mark on Nintendo and the entire industry and I’m proud to call him a friend. Doug Bowser is absolutely exceptional and I look forward to seeing him take the helm.”
Fils-Aime began his career at Nintendo of America in 2003 as its executive vice president of sales and marketing. He stepped into the president and COO roles in May 2006. His management led to record-breaking sales for products like the Nintendo DS, Wii, 3DS, and Switch, the company said. Nintendo of America also expanded its physical presence in the U.S. during his tenure, establishing a key sales and marketing office in Redwood City, Calif. And building a new headquarters in Redmond, Wash.
Fils-Aime enjoyed a certain amount of popularity with Nintendo fans over the years, especially after an appearance during E3 2007 where, while showing off Nintendo’s exercise title “Wii Fit,” he uttered the memorable phrase, “My body is ready.” It instantly became a viral internet meme.
“Nintendo owns a part of my heart forever,” Fils-Aime said. “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.”
Fils-Aime’s last day with the company will be Apr. 15. Doug Bowser, who is currently Nintendo of America’s senior vice president of sales and marketing, will succeed him as president.