Nintendo doesn’t usually respond to or comment on rumour and speculation. However, when the rumour mill is saying that your top marketing brass and PR execs are planning on leaving the company due to being unhappy with the plans to relocate offices to San Francisco and New York, then not responding will only fan the flames of rumour and, indeed, speculation.
The rumour that 90% of the Nintendo of America's sales and marketing staff had decided to take severance pay and leave Nintendo, instead of moving to either San Fran or NYC was given credence when Game Informer ran a news headline clearly stating that, “Harrison, Kaplan And Llewelyn All Departing Nintendo Of America.”
The story claimed in no uncertain terms that: “Three key executives will be leaving Nintendo of America, including Senior Director of Public Relations Beth Llewelyn; Vice President, Marking [sic] and Corporate Affairs Perrin Kaplan; and Senior Vice President, Marketing and Corporate Communications George Harrison. When these three will actually depart the company is unknown at this time, however, we’re betting on the fact that they’ll stay with Nintendo of America until the upcoming E3 show is over.”
“The only two major executives remaining at Nintendo of America include Chairman and CEO Tatsumi Kimishima and President and COO Reggie Fils-Aime. However, whether or not they will be packing a U-Haul and trekking to San Francisco or New York is unknown at this time.”
It’s true that long-serving marketing boss, George Harrison only has a couple of years to go before he officially retires, but it would be far more surprising if the two other much younger execs ‘Marking’ boss Perrin Kaplan and PR boss Beth Llewelyn were to jump ship.
Is Game Informer's source a disgruntled (soon-to-be-ex) employee? Or is the source's information correct? We will be sure to find out one way or the other next month after the E3 hype machine has calmed down.
So, what’s the official line from Nintendo? Here’s the statement a PR rep just sent SPOnG:
“I can confirm that Nintendo will be opening regional offices in Silicon Valley and New York City this Autumn. To ensure we are poised to drive our business forward and remain an industry leader, we will be better positioned by expanding our US presence to the hotbed of technology in Silicon Valley and to the world-wide media centre in the heart of New York City. As our company and industry evolve, we firmly believe we must be where we are positioned best to remain in a strong leadership position. The Seattle area remains the home of our corporate headquarters.
"We are not leaving Redmond. However, we believe it is important to expand our presence into two key markets that have proven to be leaders in creativity, technology, media and business.
"With offices in Redmond, Silicon Valley and New York, Nintendo will be well positioned to grow and drive this industry. The decision is an NOA/NCL management decision. We all believe this is the best move to ensure we raise the bar as we live, work and breathe in the centre of technology over the next decade and beyond. We are hoping employees will see the benefit and in fact, increase morale as we show everyone how you can take it up a notch even in different locations. The plan is to keep NOA headquartered in Redmond. That is certain. Sales and Marketing will be in the Silicon Valley and NYC. As we fine-tune operations with these two regional offices, other minor adjustments might be made, if necessary.
"In terms of the execs you name leaving we have not heard anything regarding that speculation (and it remains speculation) and we aren't commenting further on those rumours at this time.”