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Yamauchi to retire in June

One of the industry's most colourful figures bows out at last.

Former Nintendo president Hiroshi Yamauchi is to step down from his position on the board of directors of the company, ending 55 years of direct involvement with the company - although he will continue to act as an adviser.

His resignation will take effect after a shareholder meeting on June 29th, and according to Nintendo, the age of the 77-year old former president and the current stability of the company's operations are key factors in the decision to retire.

Yamauchi, the great grandson of Nintendo founder Fusajiro Yamauchi, took over the reins as president of Nintendo after the death of his grandfather Sekiryo in 1949, and oversaw the reinvention of the playing card company as a market leader in the burgeoning videogames market.

He stepped down from the role only three years ago, handing over to current president Satoru Iwata, but has remained active on the company's board of directors, and recently influenced the company's decision to invest in the animated movie business.

Throughout his tenure at Nintendo, Yamauchi has been an incredibly colourful character, and was widely seen as one of the most interesting and unpredictable executives in the games industry thanks to his outspoken and occasionally bizarre pronouncements about his business rivals.

He will continue to serve as an adviser in some capacity, and still owns 10 per cent of Nintendo's stock. However, he has turned down Nintendo's standard director retirement benefit, which is reported to have been worth between 1 and 1.5 billion Yen (7.3 to 11 million Euro), on the grounds that he would prefer to see the money reinvested in the company.

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