Blizzard President J. Allen Brack Is Leaving The Company
Brack had been with Blizzard for more than 15 years.
Blizzard president J. Allen Brack is leaving the company in the wake of the ongoing lawsuit over sexual harassment and discrimination against women. This was announced on Blizzard's website.
Jen Oneal and Mike Ybarra will become the co-leaders of Blizzard going forward (though apparently neither will carry the title of president or CEO). Oneal formerly led the team at Vicarious Visions, which recently became a part of Blizzard. She had been the executive vice president of development at Blizzard since January.
As for Ybarra, he joined Blizzard in 2019 after a long career at Xbox and most recently served as executive vice president and general manager of platform and technology for Blizzard.
"Jen and Mike have more than three decades of gaming industry experience between them. Moving forward, they will share responsibilities over game development and company operations," Blizzard said. "Both leaders are deeply committed to all of our employees; to the work ahead to ensure Blizzard is the safest, most welcoming workplace possible for women, and people of any gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or background; to upholding and reinforcing our values; and to rebuilding your trust. With their many years of industry experience and deep commitment to integrity and inclusivity, Jen and Mike will lead Blizzard with care, compassion, and a dedication to excellence. You'll hear more from Jen and Mike soon."
Brack said in a statement: "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."
Brack is leaving Blizzard to "pursue new opportunities," Activision Blizzard management said in its own statement. Activision Blizzard will hold its next earnings call later today, August 3, so keep checking back with GameSpot for more context and information about this story.
A separate statement provided to Gamasutra said, "It became clear to J. Allen Brack and Activision Blizzard leadership that Blizzard Entertainment needs a new direction and leadership given the critical work ahead in terms of workplace culture, game development, and innovation."
Brack worked at Electronic Arts from 1994-2000 as an associate producer before he joined Sony Online Entertainment to become the producer on Star Wars Galaxies until 2005. He then moved to Blizzard in 2006 and held a variety of positions, including production director on World of Warcraft. He became the overall president of Blizzard in 2018 after Mike Morhaime stepped down.
This leadership changes comes not long after California's Department of Fair Employment and Housing has launched a lawsuit against Activision Blizzard over claims of equal pay violations, sex discrimination, and sexual harassment, among other things. The suit also mentions that some male employees "engage in sexual banter and joke openly about rape, among other things."
A separate lawsuit filed by a shareholder alleges that Activision Blizzard gave "false and misleading" statements regarding the investigation, failing to give them notice of the two-year investigation that is now seemingly responsible for a dip in stock prices. CEO Bobby Kotick was named directly in the filing.
Activision Blizzard employees walked out last week in protest of the company's response to the case, while hundreds of Ubisoft employees wrote an open letter in support of their colleagues at Activision Blizzard.
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