That's a valid point, but he does have roles that go deeper than merely character design. For example, he directs all the games in the Kingdom Hearts series, and he is credited as a conceptual designer for several of them. His status within SE has been very much elevated in the last decade, and he's amassed a lot of publicity and, I would guess, cemented himself in a powerful position within the corporate chain.
Also, it seems that all of the games he's a part of are radically different (and in my opinion, worse in all the most important aspects) than the top tier of SE titles. For example, FFIX, FFXII, Vagrant Story, and FFT were all great, but I hardly feel the same toward FFVIII, FFX, or any Kingdom Hearts game.
We've discussed it here and in the other thread, but I don't think it's any coincidence that everything he's a part of becomes a trite affair full of porcelain-skinned hermaphrodites with too many belt buckles. If the gameplay is any good, these affairs are often too much of a distraction to realize it.
And, really, is the gameplay ever really that good? Do FFVII's materia system and FFX's advancement of the entire genre stand out above the rest of the game's faults? FFXII had serious issues in character and story development, yet in the aggregate it turned out to be fucking spectacular.