TOKYO--Nintendo announced today that former company president Hiroshi Yamauchi, 77, will be stepping down from his position on the board of directors after a shareholder meeting on June 29. Yamauchi has been a member of Nintendo's administration for 55 years. He became the president of the then-playing card company after his father passed away in 1949.
According to Nintendo, Yamauchi decided to step down due to his age (and lack of "stamina"), as well as the fact that the company had "stabilized its business operations" during the three years since his retirement from the presidency.
While Yamauchi will no longer have direct influence with Nintendo's management, he will continue to be an adviser for the company. He will also retain ownership of 10 percent of the company's stock.
Yamauchi declined to accept his director's retirement benefit from Nintendo. While the amount of this benefit was not disclosed, it is rumored to have been between 1 billion to 1.5 billion yen ($9.4 million to $14 million). The former Nintendo president commented that he would rather see the money spent on the company's future, since liquid assets are crucial in the game market.
While it is unknown how Yamauchi will spend his days now that he is no longer on the Nintendo board of directors, last year he bankrolled the building of a new poetry museum in Tokyo. That museum should open its doors this October.
Yamauchi is the man responsible for green-lighting the development of the original Famicom, as well as Nintendo's first steps into the arcade business, with Radarscope and Donkey Kong.