Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot Addresses Misconduct Allegations In Open Letter

Guillemot runs down the ways in which Ubisoft has responded to the abuse allegations.

Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot has released a statement regarding the tumultuous past year that included allegations of misconduct at the Assassin's Creed publisher and a handful of staff departures. In the new statement, which was titled "A Year of Change at Ubisoft," Guillemot stressed that Ubisoft has spent time and effort to "build a roadmap for a better Ubisoft for all."

"Last June, we faced the fact that not all team members were experiencing the safe and inclusive workplace that we had always intended Ubisoft to be. Since then, we have engaged in a company-wide effort to listen, learn, and build a roadmap for a better Ubisoft for all," he said.

Guillemot's new statement came after the publisher responded to a report that claimed Ubisoft had not done much in response to the misconduct allegations. Guillemot fired back at this, saying Ubisoft created "several channels" through which employees could report instances of inappropriate behavior with anonymity.

"All reports are received and treated by an independent external partner to guarantee impartiality. The initial reports led us to launch a series of investigations and based on their outcomes, we took appropriate actions, including training, disciplinary sanctions, and dismissals. Any new reports continue to be managed by our independent external partners," Guillemot said.

More than 14,000 Ubisoft employees took part in "group-wide assessments" at the company, which included an anonymous questionnaire. Additionally, Ubisoft said 2,000 workers participated in "focus groups and listening sessions" about Ubisoft's culture.

What's more, Ubisoft mentioned that it worked with the corporate consulting company Accenture for a "thorough audit of our global HD organization, processes, and policies."

"As a result, we strengthened our non-discrimination and anti-harassment policies. We also have created new HR processes and fully updated our internal Code of Fair Conduct. The Code is clearer, more comprehensive, and more actionable," Ubisoft said.

All employees must sign this new Code of Conduct in June, Ubisoft said. Additionally, Guillemot said a number of its teams globally have taken part in anti-harassment training, while the publisher will offer "mandatory" training sessions for anti-harassment and anti-discrimination in the future.

What's more, Guillemot mentioned that pay for managers will now be tied to a "performance criterion" scheme. "This new attribute will focus on our ability to care for people, behave inclusively, and foster a safe and respectful work environment," Guillemot said.

On top of this, Guillemot mentioned that Ubisoft has hired a number of new people to lead the company's efforts to become more inclusive and improve its culture. In April, Ubisoft hired Anika Grant to become its new Chief People Officer, while Ubisoft created an entirely new position--VP of Global Diversity & Inclusion--with Raashi Sikka taking on the role. Additionally, Ubisoft promoted Bio Jade Adam Granger to VP of Editorial with the aim of "adding more diverse perspectives to the creative leadership of our games and franchises."

"Considerable progress has been made, and we will continue to work hard with the ambition of becoming an exemplary workplace in the tech industry," Guillemot said. "The teams at Ubisoft continue to impress me with their engagement on this journey. 10,000 team members connected live to virtual town halls in early May, where we shared the latest progress being made, and we will continue to share regular updates with them."

"Management--myself included--have a responsibility to act as role models and be exemplary for our teams," he added. "I want to stress my personal commitment to continue to improve our workplace culture and create real, lasting, and positive change at Ubisoft. Thank you all for your support as we continue to learn and grow."

Guillemot has been generally apologetic in his public comments but has also said he was largely unaware of the workplace problems.

Ubisoft was called out for having a "frat house" culture of sexism and abuse. In 2020, Ubisoft disclosed that roughly 25% of employees who participated in a survey experienced or witnessed some form of workplace misconduct over the last two years. Minority groups were disproportionately affected; women experienced harassment 30% more than men, and non-binary employees experienced it 43% more than men. Only 66% of respondents who reported an incident said they felt they received support from management.

Ubisoft's next big event is the Ubisoft Forward 2021 show in June, but it remains to be seen if the company plans to use the show to address these ongoing reports about misconduct. In 2020, Ubisoft did not discuss the allegations, a move that itself drew criticism.

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