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Satoru Iwata(岩田 聡,Iwata Satoru?, born December 6, 1959) is a Japanese businessman and programmer. Iwata is the fourth president and CEO of Nintendo Co., Ltd., and CEO of Nintendo of America. When he worked as a programmer at HAL Laboratory in his early career he was considered to be a "genius programmer". He joined Nintendo in 2000, and succeeded Hiroshi Yamauchi as the company's president in May 2002. Barron's Magazine named Iwata one of the world's top CEOs, due mostly to the Wii sales, as well as Nintendo's increased stock price. He is the first Nintendo president who is unrelated to the Yamauchi family through blood or marriage.
Satoru Iwata was born and raised in Sapporo, Japan. He expressed interest in the creation of video games early on, and began producing electronic games at his home during his high school years. The several simple number games Iwata produced made use of an electronic calculator he shared with his schoolmates. Following high school, Iwata was admitted to the Tokyo Institute of Technology, where he majored in computer science. While attending the school, he did freelance work for HAL Laboratory, Inc., a subsidiary of Nintendo, as a programmer.
Satoru Iwata presenting a Wii console prototype at Nintendo's 2005 E3 press conference
After graduating from university, Iwata joined HAL Laboratory in a full-time capacity. He became the company's coordinator of software production in 1983. Some of the video games he helped create while he worked there were Balloon Fight, EarthBound, and the Kirby games. Iwata was eventually promoted to president of HAL in 1993. Nevertheless, both he and HAL sometimes aided in the creation of Nintendo video games.
In 2000, Iwata took a position at Nintendo as the head of its corporate planning division. When Hiroshi Yamauchi, the company's president since 1949, retired on May 31, 2002, Iwata succeeded as Nintendo's fourth president. He continues to help out at HAL as a consultant. He comments on Nintendo games in his section of Nintendo's Wii website, Iwata Asks. Iwata has also worked on The Legend of Zelda, Mario, and the Animal Crossing series of games. He has also played a cameo in WarioWare: Smooth Moves, where he is referred to as "Shop Manager Iwata". On April 24, 2013, he also took the role of Nintendo of America's CEO. As one of his first changes as CEO of Nintendo of America, Iwata decided that they wouldn't hold large press conferences at E3, and instead have several smaller events, each aimed at a certain demographic.
In 2014 Nintendo announced that Iwata would be missing E3 because of medical related reasons. It was later revealed that he was undergoing surgery for a tumor in the bile duct.