General Manager: David Yarnton, Nintendo
For the top, we go Down Under. With all Nintendo’s recent success, cynicism dictates that it should be easy to sneer at their UK boss.
However, Yarnton’s infective cheer, enviable experience and hugely respected standing ensures this would never happen; all qualities we’d adore having at the top of our UK office.
If we ever managed to get him on side (which we wouldn’t, but we’re fantasising here), Yarnton would hopefully reward us with his famed company loyalty. He has been with Nintendo for 13 years, first joining Nintendo Australia in March 1995.
During his time in Oz, in charge of sales and marketing, he launched the N64, GBA SP and GameCube in the region.
Since joining Nintendo UK as General Manager in October 2003, Yarnton has steered the company into the most successful era in its long history – ensuring huge first-party software success and maintaining fantastic retail relations en route.
Second Feature: Andrew Brown (Activision), Ray Maguire (Sony), Rod Cousens (Codemasters), Keith Ramsdale (EA), Rob Cooper (Ubisoft)
Marketing Director: Stephen McGill, Microsoft
If you’re wondering why you can’t go a day without key Xbox 360 messaging popping up in front of your eyes, it’s largely down to Stephen McGill.
From Microsoft’s Leicester Square extravaganza during London Games Festival to the firm’s sponsoring of the Xbox 360/MCV five-a-side football tournament, McGill is a master of promoting the benefits of the console and its software both to Johnny Consumer and the core retail community.
This relationship with the trade has resulted in an incredible reaction to major Xbox moments: note the retail reaction, and subsequent sales lift, the console enjoys after every price cut and/or major game release.
Second Feature: Dawn Paine (Nintendo), David Tyler (Activision), Gary Booker (EA), Jon Rosenblatt (Ubisoft), Alan Duncan (Sony)
Sales Director: John Clark, Sega
He’s currently excelling at Sega, but Clark’s record at former employer Eidos wasn’t too bad either; overseeing not only the resurgence in popularity for Lara Croft, but also Hitman’s golden period and the shock success of BattleStations: Midway.
Since joining Sega, his handling of major titles such as Football Manager has been exceptional, but, of course, his real epic achievement has been Sonic & Mario At The Olympic Games. Sales have been phenomenal, making the title a permanent resident in the Wii top ten in 2008.
Now, thanks to some smart bundle deals with retailers, it’s even a shock Christmas No.1 contender – over a year after it was released.
Second Feature: Darren Bowen (Ubisoft), Jonathan Grimes (Microsoft), James Dixon (THQ), Matt Castle (Disney), Andy Yates (Nintendo)
Marketing Manager: Dan Holman, EA
It’s a perfect time for us to hire Holman, fresh after he managed the striking release of FIFA 09 – which became the first football title to top a million UK sales in its debut week.
Although his specialism is in sports, Holman holds many vital transferable skills – handling huge brands, working with major commercial representatives and aiming titles at a true family audience – which would suit a whole range of software.
Juggling the rights to FIFA, the Premier League, NBA, NHL, John Madden, NFL and more is no easy feat – and we’d be sure to tap into Holman’s skill in this area when it came to our licensed titles.
Second Feature: Rob Lowe (Nintendo), Jon Brooke (Eidos), Adam Boita (Sony), Rosie Dalton (Konami), Ali Mitchell (505 Games), Jo Fawell (Sega)
Sales Manager: Doug Bone, Square Enix
Bone would probably laugh in our face at the offer of our mere manager’s job – he’s an established sales director these days.
But his incredible knowledge of the Japanese software market – and handling of Far Eastern titles that succeed in the UK – would be invaluable.
That, alongside his ability to keep sales flowing on major releases (Final Fantasy XII and, more recently, Crisis Core are both great examples) make him a very attractive proposition.
As a former ‘go-to guy’ for games at Woolworths and HMV, his list of contacts within the retail business is another string to his bow, and one most publishers would happily pay handsomely for.
Second Feature: Ralph Pitt-Stanley (505 Games), Annabel Wallace (Capcom), Rob Gross (Black Bean), Sam Collins (Ghostlight), Richard Stickler (Gem)
Brand Manager: Lucy Garnett, Sony
Following her promotion earlier this year, it might be a little difficult to tempt Garnett over. But her very impressive handling of SingStar not only shows she can skillfully promote a premium brand to both a family and core audience – but also that she has a long-enriched understanding of the casual market from its very beginnings.
Second Feature: Simon Wells (Activision), Claire Ridley (EA), Simon Turner (2K)
Trade Marketing Manager: Rosemary Buahin, Warner Bros
Buahin’s natural rapport with retailers up and down the UK would be an absolute Godsend to any publisher – something Warner realised when they snapped her up from PlayStation earlier this year. Her ability to get Sony’s console and first-party titles eye-catching space at retail was second-to-none; something she’s continued in her new role.
Second Feature: Claire Brown (Sega), Oliver Birch (Pinnacle), Amy Curtin (Koch)
Head of PR: Rob Saunders, Nintendo
Show us a journalist who dislikes Rob Saunders and we’ll show you a personality disorder. More to the point, show us a PR who can boast that sort of warm regard without kissing goodbye to credibility (or their own personality) and we’ll show you a very rare breed.
Saunders has a well-earned reputation as an Honest Joe – telling journos what they require without compromising Nintendo’s corporate realities. He’s also a smart spokesperson and never one to shy away from a serious workload. Sign that man up.
Second Feature: Andy Irving (Microsoft), Simon Smith-Wright (EA), Lee Kirton (Atari), Rich Eddy (Codemasters), Kate Ward (Activision)