Blizzard CEO leaves, Jen Oneal and Mike Ybarra take over joint leadership

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J. Allen Brack is stepping down from his position as president of Blizzard Entertainment. His departure follows a few weeks after parent company Activision Blizzard was sued for a ‘culture of sexual harassment’. Brack is succeeded by a woman and a man.

Effective immediately, Jen Oneal and Mike Ybarra jointly lead Blizzard, writes Activision Blizzard CEO in a letter to all employees. The two will be responsible for game development and business operations. According to the letter, Brack will be “chasing new opportunities.” His departure is not further explained.

The departure of the Blizzard director follows a few weeks after the US state of California started a lawsuit against publisher Activision Blizzard, because of a ‘culture of sexual harassment’. Two years of research revealed that the company discriminates against women in a variety of ways and that there is a culture of sexual harassment among women.

Brack’s name was specifically mentioned in the indictment, noted The Verge. He would be aware of inappropriate behavior and facilitate it. Brack responded to those allegations with a letter to employees, in which he said he found them “extremely disturbing” and wanted to talk to find solutions.

In an initial response, Activision Blizzard turned against the allegations. The company ‘did not recognize itself in the complaints outlined’. The publisher also complained that prosecutors had not consulted with the company before proceeding with a lawsuit. Activision Blizzard called that “irresponsible behavior by bureaucrats that causes many companies to leave the state of California.” The company received a lot of criticism for that reaction, after which CEO Bobby Kotick wrote that in a letter to employees the response was inappropriate.

Jen Oneal and Mike Ybarra succeed Brack together. Oneal had been with Activision Blizzard for 18 years, until recently she was the head of studio Vicarious Visions. Prior to that, she supported the development of Diablo and Overwatch in her role as executive vice president of development.

Mike Ybarra was brought in to Blizzard in 2019. Before that, he was CEO of the Xbox division for 7 years and has been working in the games industry for 20 years. He was executive vice president and general manager at Blizzard. The outgoing Allen Brack had been Blizzard’s CEO since October 2018. He has been with the company since 2005 and has served as executive producer and vice president of World of Warcraft.

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