In light of a lawsuit filed by the state of California alleging a sexist ‘frat boy’ culture, gaming giant Activision Blizzard, known for games like World of Warcraft and Call of Duty, has decided to make a leadership change.
The president of its Blizzard Entertainments’ business J Allen Brack, who was one of the few executives personally named in the California suit, is to step down.
In a statement, Activision Blizzard president and CEO Daniel Alegre wrote: “I am pleased to announce that, effective immediately, Jen Oneal and Mike Ybarra have been appointed co-leaders of Blizzard.
“Jen and Mike will share responsibility for development and operational accountability for the company.
“Both are leaders of great character and integrity and are deeply committed to ensuring our workplace is the most inspired, welcoming environment for creative excellence and to upholding our highest game development standards.
“With their many years of industry experience and deep commitment to integrity and inclusivity, I am certain Jen and Mike will lead Blizzard with care, compassion and a dedication to excellence.
“With Jen and Mike assuming their new roles, J. Allen Brack is leaving the company to pursue new opportunities.
According to The Verge, Brack took over the helm at Blizzard in 2018; he had previously worked in development at World of Warcraft, the unit of the business most associated with the so-called sexist frat-boy culture alleged in the Californian lawsuit.
This decision by Activision Blizzard comes after employees expressed their dissatisfaction with the company’s defensive response to the lawsuit. Not only did 2,000 write and sign letter to the senior management, but they also threatened to down tools and walk out.
In response to this, Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick addressed their ideas head on, including bringing in a legal team to independently investigate all allegations and concerns.
Kotick also committed Activision Blizzard to long-lasting change in the future.
This includes an immediate evaluation of all managers and leaders at the company and stated that “anyone found to have impeded the integrity of our processes for evaluating claims and imposing appropriate consequences will be terminated.”
In a statement to the change of executive leadership, J Allen Brack told The Verge: “I am confident that Jen Oneal and Mike Ybarra will provide the leadership Blizzard needs to realize its full potential and will accelerate the pace of change.
“I anticipate they will do so with passion and enthusiasm and that they can be trusted to lead with the highest levels of integrity and commitment to the components of our culture that make Blizzard so special.”
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