EXCLUSIVE: Rose Lappin, the long-time boss of Nintendo Australia, has retired, with Mr Yuji Bando, who is currently based at Nintendo Japan, set to replace her.
Ms Lappin, who once stood up to Harvey Norman in a fight over the Nintendo Wii, has been with Nintendo Australia for 16 years. After commencing work with Nintendo in 1994 as the State Manager of the then-Queensland branch, she has held positions within the company as General Manager of Sales, 2000-2003, and Director of Sales and Marketing, 2003-2007.
Her involvement with Nintendo precedes even her time at Nintendo Australia. Prior to her career with Nintendo, Ms Lappin worked for Mattel for 12 years; Mattel previously distributed Nintendo products in Australia.
“I have thoroughly enjoyed my time at Nintendo Australia and have enjoyed working with everybody here. Nintendo Australia, and Nintendo globally, is made up of some fantastic people, and it has been an honour to be the Managing Director for almost three years,” said Ms Lappin.
“Nintendo has been through many exciting changes during my time here, so it has been great to be a part of that. I love the gaming industry, and will definitely miss it,” she added.
During a recent interview, Ms Lappin said that “motivation, drive and belief in people and products” was the driving force behind her past success.
“Integrity and honesty are really important to me. I like to think that I treat everyone in the business fairly, no matter what job they are doing or who they are,” she said.
Highly respected by retailers and the industry, Ms Lappin has been known to get tough with retailers. In 2007, when she was launching the Nintendo Wii, she denied Harvey Norman access to the product after the company tried to dictate the terms under which the product would be sold in its stores.
Ms Lappin chose to exclude Harvey Norman; instead, she gave the product to JB Hi-Fi, EB Games and others. Overnight the product became a runaway success. Eighteen months later, Harvey Norman accepted Nintendo’s terms and ranged the product.
“I believe that these traits have helped me, in good times and in bad. For example, in 2003, many people had written Nintendo off, but we had to keep the business going. Now in 2010, we have new products, and business is going well, but we have to make sure that we don’t get complacent. I believe it is critical to have focus and drive the business at all times,” Ms Lappin said.