The rumor mill churned Wednesday, as word spread that up to 90 percent of Nintendo of America's public relations department, including senior vice president of marketing George Harrison, vice president of marketing Perrin Kaplan, and senior director of public relations Beth Llewelyn, had departed the company over issues stemming from the imminent relocation of the sales and marketing branch, currently based in Redmond, Washington.
Today, NOA president Reggie Fils-Aime confirmed some cutbacks had indeed occurred. The outspoken executive told the San Jose Mercury News that 55 jobs would be relocated to the San Francisco/San Jose area at the end of September, as well as 25 more heading to New York City. He also stated that 60 percent of NOA's sales and marketing staff would not be making the move, opting instead to leave the company.
Putting on his corporate face, Fils-Aime remained optimistic about the timing of the transition, stating, "It's much easier to do this right now when we certainly have the wind at our back." As for Harrison, Kaplan, and Llewelyn's status, Fils-Aime would not comment on their status, other than calling reports of such "speculation and rumor."
Fils-Aime also offered some insight into the impetus behind relocating the department. With Silicon Valley playing home to many game developers--he named Redwood Shores-based Electronic Arts and San Francisco-based LucasArts, specifically--Fils-Aime said a desire to be closer to the action was behind the move.
"In our minds, it's essential to spend physical time with people from other companies, to be involved with them as neighbors and do business with them face to face," he said. A similar rationale was offered for the relocation to Manhattan, where many marketing and advertising firms are located.