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Illumination CEO Joins Nintendo as New Outside Director

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Chris Meledandri, CEO of American animation studio Illumination, has been nominated to join Nintendo as an Outside Director.

Meledandri, whose company is responsible for Minions, Despicable Me, and the upcoming Mario animated movie, is anticipated to join the company following approval of the position at Nintendo’s 81st Annual General Meeting of Shareholders. That meeting is set to be held on June 29, 2021, according to Nintendo’s latest financial report.

As an Outside Director, Meledandri will be a non-executive and likely part of the company to provide advice rather than solidify strategy and decisions. Nintendo currently has three outside directors, but Meledandri will be the first American citizen to hold the position.

Nintendo is looking into more animated features beyond Mario, and it may be that Meledandri and his knowledge of film and animation could be an asset in regards to that expansion.

Meledandri and Mario creator, Shigeru Miyamoto, have developed a good relationship over the years. “We are keeping him front and center in the creation of this film,” Meledandri said when discussing Illumination’s approach to the Mario movie. “I’ve rarely seen that happen with any adaptation where the original creative voice is being embraced like we’re embracing Miyamoto.”

The news of Meledandri joining Nintendo was announced as part of Nintendo’s financial results, which show a record year of profits for the Japanese gaming giant.


Matt Purslow is IGN’s UK News and Entertainment Writer. 

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