Nintendo has confirmed that Chris Meledandri, CEO of American animation studio Illumination, has officially joined its board of directors.
The company addressed the new appointment during its 81st Annual General Meeting of Shareholders at the end of June. Nintendo president Shuntaro Furukawa, together with director Shigeru Miyamoto, commented on Meledandri’s election and what it means for the company, particularly in regards to “the field of visual content” and its possible expansion.
“[Chris Meledandri] has gained broad experience and insight as a corporate manager and in the field of entertainment, so we anticipate he will appropriately supervise our management from an objective perspective while providing valuable advice to our leadership,” Furukawa said, outlining the expectations surrounding an outside board member.
“Mr. Meledandri has been appointed as an independent and non-executive outside director, so he will not be directly involved in execution of operation,” Furukawa added. “However, we believe that his extensive experience and knowledge in the field of entertainment will have a beneficial effect on the decision-making of our board of directors.”
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Furukawa acknowledged that Nintendo’s core business is the integrated hardware-software dedicated video game platform, but also noted that visual content is an “important” factor in growing the business further. Miyamoto said he had been working with Meledandri on the Super Mario movie for over five years, but it had no direct tie with the new appointment.
“Through that relationship, I think [Meledandri] really came to understand the Nintendo point of view,” Miyamoto revealed. “I don’t think it’s easy for those overseas involved in media creation to understand Nintendo’s way of thinking, but Chris truly comprehends why Nintendo creates characters and visual content.”
Miyamoto further stressed the importance of visual content in helping Nintendo to expand “further throughout the world and become stronger as a company,” however, he also recognized that it wasn’t necessarily an easy field to master. He identified Meledandri as a valuable voice on the board of directors, especially given his expertise in this particular area.
“The processes of making visual content and developing games share some of the same ways of thinking, but there are also differences. The movie business, including distribution, is in a period of transformation,” he explained. “We think that asking for Chris’ input, as an expert with many years of experience in Hollywood, will be of great help to us in the future.”
Meledandri was originally nominated for the role at the beginning of May, but his position on Nintendo’s board of directors was only made official this past week. Nintendo currently has three other outside directors, however, Meledandri is the first American citizen to hold the position.
Nintendo is looking into more animated features beyond Mario, so it sounds like Meledandri’s knowledge of film and animation will be an asset in regards to that expansion. But first, everyone’s favorite platforming plumber will be jumping down the warp pipe and onto the big screen for Illumination’s Super Mario: The Movie, which is scheduled to hit theaters in 2022.
Adele Ankers is a freelance writer for IGN. Follow her on Twitter.