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Japanese Game Industry CEO Salaries Revealed

by Neal Ronaghan - June 30, 2010, 7:28 am EDT
Total comments: 13 Source: (Andriasang), http://www.andriasang.com/e/blog/2010/06/29/ceo_sa...

Ever wonder how much Iwata and Miyamoto make?

A recent report in Asahi detailed the salaries of top Japanese game industry executives, including Nintendo President Satoru Iwata and top game designer Shigeru Miyamoto.

The revelation stems from a new requirement that Japanese companies must disclose to shareholders the salaries of board members that exceed ¥100 million.  This includes Iwata, who makes an annual salary of ¥187 million, or right around the $2 million USD mark (depending on currency conversion rates).  He makes a base salary of ¥68 million (approximately $770,000 USD), with the rest being rewards for performance incentives met. Shigeru Miyamoto is one of a group of six board members that made a combined ¥100 million ($1.1 million USD), but his base salary was not disclosed.

Other game industry CEO salaries were revealed by Japanese website ZakZak.  Square Enix CEO Yoichi Wada made more than Iwata last year, raking in a cool ¥240 million ($2.7 million USD). Namco Bandai Holdings President Kazunori Ueno made slightly less at ¥137 million ($1.6 million), while Sega Sammy CEO Osamu Satomi is rolling in cash with earnings of ¥435 million ($4.9 million USD).

Satomi runs a larger company, which is certainly reflected in an increased paycheck.  For comparison, Sony's top chief Howard Stringer was paid ¥816.5 million ($9.2 million USD) last year for running the mega-corporation.


MaryJaneJune 30, 2010

These salaries seem really low... In 2008 Nintendo posted a net profit of $2.5 billion, and yet their top man makes only $2 million, and the greatest and most iconic video game creator of all time shares a pot of $1.1 million with five other people? http://www.nintendo.co.jp/ir/pdf/2008/annual0803e.pdf

The 'top chief' of Sony making only $9.2 million also seems ridiculously low for how large a company Sony is. In 2008 Sony posted a net profit of $4 billion, though in 2009 that fell to a net loss of $1.1 billion. http://www.sony.net/SonyInfo/IR/financial/ar/8ido180000023g2o-att/SonyAR09-E.pdf

And Sega posted a loss of $523 million in 2008 and a loss of $232 million in 2009, and yet their CEO makes more than double Iwata's salary? http://pdf.irpocket.com/C6460/JsWS/FwD8.pdf

I'm not doubting the article I just always imagined these guys making tens of millions of dollars. For goodness sake the DS prints money!! Perhaps our Japanese counterparts are just more prudent when it comes to salaries:

EA's director of the board of directors makes $12.59 million a year while in 2008 EA posted a net loss of $454 million in 2008 and a whopping net loss of $1.08 billion in 2009.   http://files.shareholder.com/downloads/ERTS/951991928x0x302630/A08800FF-9CE4-4C94-B93B-E43D90B2D195/ElectronicArts061209.pdf

Iwata and Miyamoto need to put in for raises with their board of directors.

CaterkillerMatthew Osborne, Contributing WriterJune 30, 2010

I would have thought they would have made much much more, but with what they make they live super comfortable no doubt. I bet much of the money that we thought they were getting goes back into the company a million different ways which I think is good.

Japanese CEOs aren't paid like US ones.

oohhboyHong Hang Ho, Staff AlumnusJune 30, 2010

Yeah, they are underpaid compared to American salaries, but remember that American salaries are astronomically overpaid in excess of 500+ times your average employee. No doubt Iwata and co has a lot of perks that aren't listed or required to be reported. Retirement funds, living, the satisifaction that your work bringing joy to countless number of people across the planet? Priceless.

Japan doesn't hire rockstar CEOs whose only interest is to crank the stock price up regardless of actual product. Far better to have someone that wants to improve the company in a real way than someone who wants to exit with high value stock options.

Japan also doesn't have the same need to keep score like the Americans. Nintendo has a market cap bigger than MS now, but it's only a tool, not the end all measure of how awesome your company is. It's more about the person/comapany than how much you can pay that person or how much the company is worth.

Also, I wonder how much stock they own.  Yamauchi was one of the richest men in Japan.  Sometimes even US CEOs take $1 salaries, but bonuses and stock value more than make up for it.  In any case, oohhboy is right, the business mentality is different in Japan.

KDR_11kJune 30, 2010

Miyamoto supposedly doesn't want to be paid more.

Can someone match those listed CEO salaries to the last fiscal year profit of their respective companies? I want to see if salaries/bonuses are in line with company performance or if it's as usual and the worse a company's losses, the higher the CEO's pay...

oohhboyHong Hang Ho, Staff AlumnusJune 30, 2010

US CEOs take most of their pay in stock options as part tax dodge and to manipulate how much they get upon finishing up the contract. Capital gains can be manipulated to only 15% compared to the top marginal income tax rate at $373,651+ @ 35%.

TJ SpykeJune 30, 2010

Japanese salaries in general are lower than the US. The top 40 richest people in Japan are worth a combined $87 billion (by comparison, Bill Gates alone is worth $53 billion), the richest person in Japan is Tadashi Yanai (worth $9.7 billion, he owns discount clothing retailer Fast Retailing). MegaByte is right about stock, Yamauchi is worth about $3.8 billion thanks to his stock holdings in Nintendo (he is the largest shareholder in the company, owning about 11.07% of Nintendo's stock).

Many people, myself included, think that a lot of CEOs are overpaid. The CEO/Chairman of Lehman Brothers made over $22 million in 2007, the same year as the subprime portage crisis. Let's not forget about the people who run their companies into the ground, then get fired and "compensated" with millions of dollars. They cause their companies to lose billions of dollars and then get rewarded? I wish I could get fired and compensated like that.

BlackNMild2k1June 30, 2010

^do you constantly search Wikipedia before every post you make?

TJ SpykeJune 30, 2010

One, I did not check Wikipedia for that info. Two, I like to actually be informed when posting my replies (most of the time).

I also try to stay on topic.

ThePermJune 30, 2010

the owner of sammy/sega Hajime Satomi is on the Forbes list too. In 2006 he was billionaire #698 in 06

also, Yamauchi is still is one of Japan's richest men. As of 2007 he's #226 on the billionaires list. You keep using the past tense, i had to check up to make sure he wasn't dead.

checked again #201 in 2010..his net worth went up a billion the last 3 years

TJ SpykeJune 30, 2010

Hajime Satomi is not a billionaire (at least anymore). Forbes puts him at a net worth of of $780 million as of January 2010 (http://www.forbes.com/lists/2010/73/japan-rich-10_Japans-Richest_Networth.html).

I guess in the last year Yamauchi got richer, as Forbes had him up to $4.2 billion in March.

ThePermJune 30, 2010

yeah wikipedia says Satomi dropped 1 billion dollars recently...

he shouldn't have bought Sega, they are a money pit!

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