Shinichi Suzuki, the president and chief executive officer of Atlus' North American subsidiary, has stepped down. Suzuki will be succeeded by Naoto Hiraoka, current head of consumer business at parent company Index Corporation, though Suzuki will remain on board in an advisory role until October. No specific reason was given concerning Suzuki's departure.

Suzuki's tenure as CEO and president was earmarked by the releases of some of Atlus' most well known games, such as Trauma Center, Persona 4, Catherine and Demon's Souls. While his gradual departure from the company is explained away as a synergistic way to transfer leadership, we suspect the actual reason is that Suzuki will first have to navigate an infinite tower of trap-riddled cubes, all while confronting his inner fears and limitations.
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NAOTO HIRAOKA APPOINTED AS PRESIDENT AND CEO OF INDEX DIGITAL MEDIA, INC. (ATLUS); FORMER COMPANY HEAD SHINICHI SUZUKI WILL REMAIN AS ADVISOR UNTIL OCTOBER

IRVINE, CALIFORNIA -- AUGUST 1, 2012 -- ATLUS, the video game publishing brand of Index Digital Media, Inc., today announced the departure of Shinichi Suzuki, President and CEO of the North American subsidiary since 2004 and an industry veteran with over 20 years of executive experience. Effective August 1, 2012, Mr. Suzuki is to be succeeded by Naoto Hiraoka, head of consumer business at Index Corporation and producer for some of the publisher's most acclaimed games. Drawing upon his 11 years of experience at ATLUS, not to mention his remarkable video game industry savvy, Mr. Hiraoka brings a more unified, synergistic vision for the brand, hoping to further expand upon ATLUS' current trend of prosperity by bringing the Japanese and North American offices closer together.

During his tenure at Index Digital Media, Inc., Mr. Suzuki demonstrated bold vision, strong leadership, and a marked growth initiative, overseeing year after year of record revenues and profits. His recognition of the importance of online gaming brought about the creation of ATLUS ONLINE, a new division dedicated to massively online interactive entertainment. Mr. Suzuki's time with the company is further highlighted by the release of some of the most venerated ATLUS titles of all time: Trauma Center®, Persona®3 & 4, Demon's Souls™, Catherine™, and many more. In addition, a wealth of successful niche titles, like the sleeper hit Radiant Historia™ for Nintendo DS™, serve as an example of Mr. Suzuki's unshakable commitment to core gamers, a trend that endures beyond his term.

Mr. Suzuki expressed appreciation to his employees and the company's faithful community of fans in his parting statement: "In the time since I assumed the role of President and CEO of Index Digital Media, Inc., the company has experienced tremendous success and growth. I am so proud to have served at the helm of such a well-loved brand as ATLUS. I thank my staff and all of the fans that continue to support the company and its games. Under new leadership, we will continue our proud tradition of excellent games and exceptional localizations. I extend my sincerest thanks to all who helped in some way to make us successful."

Mr. Hiraoka, the incoming President, commented on Mr. Suzuki's departure: "I am honored to succeed Mr. Suzuki as the head of Index Digital Media. Like all ATLUS fans, I am grateful to him for his long service to the company and its many years of prosperity under his supervision. Moving forward, we will continue ATLUS' esteemed legacy of extraordinary video games, retaining our focus on the core but remaining open to exploring new opportunities in emerging sectors."

Mr. Suzuki will remain with Index Digital Media, Inc. in an advisory role through September, facilitating a seamless transition of management.

This article was originally published on Joystiq.