Blizzard Entertainment have announced that J. Allen Brack, president of the studio, is stepping down from his position in a statement released on their website. Jen Oneal, vice president of development, and Mike Ybarra, vice president and general manager of platform and technology, are set to move into co-leadership roles in his stead. No reason for Brack’s departure is given in the announcement.
New leadership at Blizzard.— Blizzard Entertainment (@Blizzard_Ent) August 3, 2021
That said, while no statement on the ongoing tumult at the studio is directly made in the announcement, Blizzard does make sure to say that “Both [new] 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.”
Similarly, J. Allen Brack also says that he is “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.”
The change in leadership comes as Blizzard Entertainment - and Activision-Blizzard more widely - has been dealing with the fallout of a high-profile sexual harassment and gender discrimination lawsuit, employee walkouts, and an investigation by US authorities into the Overwatch League for suspected antitrust violations.
Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick just sent the following letter to staff, calling the company's initial responses "tone deaf" and promising to take "swift action" by hiring a law firm to review the company's policies among other things https://t.co/NhDF9yFHeK— Jason Schreier (@jasonschreier) July 28, 2021
Public perception has heavily turned against Blizzard, especially with “tone-deaf” responses to criticism from executives fueling fires both in and outside of the company - including a bizarre series of events that lead to Activision-Blizzard CCO Frances Townsend blocking her own employees on Twitter. J. Allen Brack stepping down as president of Blizzard Entertainment is likely an attempt to begin righting the ship.