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Major Shakeup in Nintendo of America Brass? 82

Posted by Zonk
from the strang-tales dept.
Last month Game Informer Online was reporting that Nintendo of America's (NoA) marketing and sales team was being moved away from the company headquarters in Redmond. The likely new home cities for staffers were either New York or San Francisco. Either way, it seems as if that choice didn't sit well. GI is now saying that 90% of the folks in those departments have opted not to move, and instead are taking severance packages. Surprisingly, this includes three of NoA's biggest names: Senior Director of Public Relations Beth Llewelyn; Vice President, Marking and Corporate Affairs Perrin Kaplan; and Senior Vice President, Marketing and Corporate Communications George Harrison. At the moment there is no official confirmation from Nintendo, but if true this would constitute huge change in the message from the company in North America.
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Major Shakeup in Nintendo of America Brass?

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  • huh (Score:2, Funny)

    by nomadic (141991)
    Weird. I mean, I can see if they were being asked to move to like Dallas or Detroit or something, but why wouldn't you want to move to New York or San Francisco?
    • by Herkum01 (592704)
      Because the costing of living in NYC and San Francisco is incredibly high?
      • by nomadic (141991)
        Actually you can live on a relatively modest salary in NYC if you had to. Your home will be smaller and more cramped, and your commute will be longer, but a lot of people think the tradeoffs are worth it.
        • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

          by toolie (22684)
          Actually you can live on a relatively modest salary in NYC if you had to. Your home will be smaller and more cramped, and your commute will be longer, but a lot of people think the tradeoffs are worth it.

          A lot of people like watching reality TV. A lot of people can't read. What a lot of people do can't even be remotely construed as a good thing.
          • by nomadic (141991)
            And the people who like reality TV show and who can't read probably wouldn't like the tradeoffs either. But those people who actually can appreciate real culture, and real arts, and life outside suburbia, do.
      • by Herkum01 (592704)

        I could think of three good reasons for moving from Redmond.

        • Keep Microsoft from poaching their staff
        • Increased access to talented employees
        • Improved access to clients

        The fact that 90% of their employees seem unwilling to move seems to indicate that their options in Redmond seem pretty good and that they don't really love Nintendo that much anyways.

        • by Applekid (993327)
          90% of Marketing and Sales department employees, including those big names. The focus is that while these guys might have been responsible for all the Wii-love puff pieces within the last year, they're not decision makers or technology makers or region licensing. Plus, judging from how my father feels about his middle-management job inside Sales (for another company), these guys get a lot of pressure and flak when things go wrong that aren't really under control so it's no surprise they'll see it as just an
          • by Aladrin (926209)
            I have to wonder... Did they take a poll beforehand and notice that 90% of the Marketing peeps would leave if they moved, and scream 'jackpot!' ? Maybe they -want- a shakeup in that department, without the mess of actually firing anyone.

            Or maybe there was a good reason and this is just icing on the cake.
    • by faloi (738831)
      You don't like earthquakes or being so close to New Jersey?
    • Re: (Score:1, Flamebait)

      by J. T. MacLeod (111094)
      Perhaps they have homes and families in the place they chose to live? Perhaps they prever sane politics to the insanity that passes for sensibility in NYC and SF?

      Or maybe they just don't want to get shot.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      If someone's a Senior VP or Senior Director of Nintendo, then chances are good that they have already made enough money to be able to live off returns from investments. Also, many of them probably have families and kids... if you're asking this question, your family likely never moved when you were a child.
    • by LWATCDR (28044)
      Funny but I would rather live in Dallas than New York.
      Some answers to your question are.
      1. Cost of living. Yea Seattle is expensive but I think San Francisco is worse.
      2. Quality of living. As big cities go Seattle is much nicer to live in than New York from my point of view. I have spent time in both and I like Seattle a lot more.
      3. Family, friends, and opportunities. If you have lived in a place for years you have roots, you may have kids in school that you don't want to uproot.
      4. Moving Tax. If you bought
      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        BTW I would pick Dallas because I don't want to live in an apartment and I know of lot's of very pretty areas around Dallas that I could buy a nice home and commute to work.

        See, I think that not so many others would pick your solution. I've been to Seattle, I've lived in Austin and visited Dallas a few times, and I've lived in SF. So long as you can afford off-street parking (or plan to ditch your car) I'd choose SF out of all of those places simply because of the weather. It gets cold there, especially in

        • by macshit (157376)
          on the average SF weather is beautiful. The weather in Seattle is quite literally depressing - to the point of it being clinical (in combination with the lack of sunlight.)

          I've never quite understand why people say this. I grew up about half and half in the SF area (when I was a younger child) and near Seattle (when I was a teenager), and the Seattle weather was really nice for the most part -- pretty sunny in the summer but not oppressively hot, with very mild winters. I'd describe Seattle weather as bei
          • by juan2074 (312848)
            "The coldest winter I ever saw was the summer I spent in San Francisco."
            --Mark Twain
        • by LWATCDR (28044)
          I was born in FL so the heat in Dallas isn't that bad. I found the people to very pleasnat and my wife has family there. You see people have different requirements. The other thing is I love to fly VFR San Fransisco has a LOT of restricted air space.
    • Personally, I'm offended you compared Dallas to Detroit. I really like this town. Lots of space too!
      • by nomadic (141991)
        Personally, I'm offended you compared Dallas to Detroit. I really like this town. Lots of space too!

        Based on your reply, I'm not sure which city you're actually defending.
        • I...uh...realized that after i posted it. I live in Dallas. Think about it though. Detroit is awfully cramped. North Texas has got TONS of open area.
    • Ouch. I grew up in Dallas, and I'd much rather live there than New York. It's just way too huge. San Fran on the other hand would be nice.
    • by gorbachev (512743)
      What's so weird about it?

      People have families and other commitments.

      I wouldn't move half way across the country for any company either unless they made it REALLY worthwhile to me and my family.
    • by dhakbar (783117)
      Because city living is a poor fit for humanity. It's psychologically unhealthy, never mind all of the physically unhealthy factors.
  • So... (Score:5, Funny)

    by maniac/dev/null (170211) on Thursday June 07, 2007 @10:47AM (#19423533) Homepage
    So, where do I mail my resume to? Its-a-me, new hire!
    • Wow, that one actually made me laugh out loud in the middle of class... I thought I could browse under the radar but I think now the professor is on to me...
  • What the hell? Why? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Spazntwich (208070) on Thursday June 07, 2007 @10:50AM (#19423579)
    I read the articles and didn't see a reason why they're moving their marketing department away from headquarters.

    Marketing seems to me to be one of those departments that would be about as effective regardless of the geographic location of its employees. Is this just a thinly veiled way to lay off a lot of people without making themselves look like the bad guys?
    • by matt_king (19018)
      its just marketing people, im sure they can find replacements pretty easily ;-)
      • by Pope (17780)
        You could find replacement bodies pretty easily, but you sure can't find properly knowledgable marketing people that easily. A lot of marketing people can get pretty focussed on one specialty area; selling natural gas is quite a bit different from selling video games. Not everyone can adapt as quickly as the companies need.
        • by cez (539085)
          Agreed, but one must take into consideration that NYC, and I'm sure to a lesser degree, SF, are pretty much Marketing / Advertising meccas. NYC is perhaps even the marketing / advertising capital of the world. How often were these employees flying back and forth from Redmond to SF and NY for meetings with agencies / executives of other companies I wonder? It won't be good for them to loose the experienced employees who have been with them long enough to become vested and comfortable enough to decline the
    • by hibiki_r (649814) on Thursday June 07, 2007 @11:26AM (#19424097)
      Given how many of their bigwigs are taking their severance packages, I can only think of two plausible scenarios:

      -This change was mandated by some crazy executive in Japan without caring about what the US division said. This would probably mean the move will be a complete disaster for Nintendo of America.

      -Maybe our good friend Reggie, who used to be head of Marketing, thinks that their marketing and sales department is full of bozos, and did this just because he'd get high attrition rates. On the new cities, he already has new management lined up, so the old figureheads take the severance now instead of just getting fired or demoted later. If this is the case, it could be good or bad: Maybe they really were under-performing.

      Your typical option number three, an executive wants to move to a nicer city, and who cares about all his underlings, seems very unlikely given how many executives are leaving.
      • by LKM (227954)

        Maybe they really were under-performing.

        Possible. Pre DS and Wii, Nintendo was failing in the US, and even now, Japan seems to be unhappy with how the US is developing, compared to the other two large markets...

      • by RyoShin (610051)
        Reggie is taking blames and kicking assets?
    • I remember hearing something about Nintendo running out of space in their Redmond headquarters. As you said marketing is a department that would be about as effective regardless of geographic location, so it probably made the most sense to move that department as opposed to another department.

      This is all purely speculation, of course.
    • by HalAtWork (926717)
      Perhaps since the Wii was mostly a product of NOJ engineering, and since recently (post-Yamauchi, around when Arakawa was taking lead and then after he left) NOA was pulling the reigns on Nintendo but were seen to have "dropped the ball" with GC and N64, so NOJ wants to tighten their leash on NOA. Perhaps also NOJ wants NOA to be closer physically to make travel and transport between the two easier.

      Just speculation based on Nintendo's past attitudes, though, but it may have changed with Yamauchi gone (but
      • by toolie (22684)
        Perhaps also NOJ wants NOA to be closer physically to make travel and transport between the two easier.

        First, to get closer to Japan from Seattle, I think NYC would be near the bottom of the list.

        Second, any flights out of SFO to get to Japan go north along the coast, over Washington (Seattle/Redmond) and then cut over through part of Alaska (depending on the Jet Stream). They are in just about the best location they can be for access to Japan.
  • It's about time that corportations got the message that they are not the most important thing in life, that telling everyone to pull up stakes and disrupt the rest of their lives is not a nice thing to do. Maybe other corps will think twice about closing locations where they have people they don't want to lose.
  • CEO: Ok... looks like we're going to have to lose a few people... PR: But... the public will hate us! COO: Let's relocate sales and marketing to Podunk, AL CEO and PR: What a glorius idea!! Seems like it is a nice way to cut your workforce in half...(or in a tenth) Except if.... One week later Stockholder: You dumb #$%@s! We had 5000 people quit and it brought our share prices down Cheers!
  • Veracity? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by MeanderingMind (884641) * on Thursday June 07, 2007 @12:00PM (#19424625) Homepage Journal
    I'm wondering about how true this "move" is. You'd think with such high profile people being lost there'd be something, well, official?

    I realize Game Informer is a major gaming magazine, but it still seems really odd. "Sources" or no, Harrison and Kaplan are pretty important in the hierarchy of NoA, and I find it really weird that Nintendo would silently move/remove all of these people without announcing anything at all.

    Not to mention how little sense it makes to move marketing so far away from headquarters.
    • by EggyToast (858951)
      I'm curious about their actual influence. Kaplan and Harrison are high profile because they're well known by gamers, due to interviews and press releases. But do they really DO anything? I'm not saying that their jobs are unworthy or meaningless, of course, but it's not like Nintendo has really done anything interesting regarding its own marketing and advertising. A few interesting commercials every once in a while but it wouldn't surprise me if this is both a space issue and a shakeup. A lot of these
    • I realize Game Informer is a major gaming magazine, but it still seems really odd. "Sources" or no, Harrison and Kaplan are pretty important in the hierarchy of NoA, and I find it really weird that Nintendo would silently move/remove all of these people without announcing anything at all.

      Please remember that Game Informer was once a product of FuncoLand, and as such is now a product of GameStop. As an experiment, visit your local GameStop and ask the friendly clerk about Nintendo products. When you feel
  • by rlp (11898)
    Kind of makes business sense for a marketing office. NY is a center for old media and SF for new. On the other hand, maybe Reggie is getting tired of the rain and wants to live in NY or SF.
  • Not suprising they didn't want to go back.

    We get a lot of refugees from there and Cali.
  • Maybe the NoA black ops in Redmond have finished their job and they're bugging out to a more sensible location before the "Earth shattering KABOOM?"

    Or perhaps it was the other way around? Did anyone else think it odd that Nintendo had named their box the "Revolution" and MS named theirs the "360?"

    Think about it.

    --
    Toro
  • I personally find this to be quiet intreging that many of you are still having trouble finding a Wii. In my area I can stop by any local BestBuy or Walmart and get a console easily. Reasons for Nintendo to move there Marketing to New York could be a bunch of things. Easy way of removing management hands, or changing there targeted geographic model towards a different market.

Facts are stubborn, but statistics are more pliable.

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