Blizzard President J. Allen Brack, who was just lately named in a California state discrimination and harassment lawsuit against the company, is leaving “to pursue new alternatives,” the corporate announced this morning.
In his place, Blizzard Executive VPs Mike Ybarra (a former long-time Xbox govt) and Jen Oneal (previously head of Vicarious Visions) will function studio co-leads beginning right this moment. Both have lengthy histories within the recreation business however joined Blizzard’s govt crew comparatively just lately—Ybarra in 2019 and Oneal earlier this yr, when Vicarious Vision merged into Blizzard. Brack had been at Blizzard for practically 16 years, together with eight as an govt and three as president of the corporate. Before that, he labored on video games like Wing Commander and Star Wars Galaxies.
“I’m assured that Jen Oneal and Mike Ybarra will present the management Blizzard wants to comprehend its full potential and can speed up the tempo of change,” Brack mentioned in a statement. “I anticipate they may achieve this with ardour and enthusiasm and that they are often trusted to steer with the very best ranges of integrity and dedication to the parts of our tradition that make Blizzard so particular.”
The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing lawsuit particularly named Brack as one of many executives who fielded complaints about “illegal harassment discrimination and retaliation” from staff and “did not take efficient remedial measures in response.” The go well with additionally alleges that Brack gave a mere “slap on the wrist” to Alex Afrasiabi, the previous senior inventive director of World of Warcraft who was eventually removed for “misconduct” surrounding his therapy of feminine staff.
In an email to staff following the lawsuit final month, Brack mentioned he felt “indignant, unhappy, and a bunch of different feelings” over alleged conduct that he referred to as “extraordinarily troubling” and “fully unacceptable… I disdain ‘bro tradition’ and have spent my profession combating in opposition to it. Iterating on our tradition with the identical depth that we carry to our video games is crucial…”
Brack’s departure comes forward of Activision Blizzard’s quarterly earnings presentation later right this moment. As of this writing, Activision Blizzard inventory is down practically 5 p.c on the day in early buying and selling and down over 16 p.c from this time one month in the past.
Thousands of Activision Blizzard staff have signed a petition decrying the corporate’s preliminary response to the lawsuit, and tons of took half in a one-day “Walkout for Equality” last week whereas demanding motion on quite a few fronts.