Blizzard President J. Allen Brack Leaving Activision Blizzard Amid Lawsuit
After being named in California’s shocking Activision Blizzard lawsuit and the ongoing saga thereafter, Blizzard president J. Allen Brack is officially leaving the company after 15 years. The announcement was made in an official blog post, with Vicarious Visions boss Jen Oneal and former Xbox executive Mike Ybarra taking over the top position in a co-leadership role.
“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,” J. Allen Brack said in an accompanying statement. “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.”
Replacing the soon-to-be-former Blizzard president is Jen Oneal, who has served as executive vice president of development as part of the recently-absorbed Diablo 2 remake studio Vicarious Visions; and Mike Ybarra, who was a staple at Xbox for 20 years before joining Blizzard in 2019 as executive vice president and general manager of platform and technology. The move is stated to be in the best interest of providing the “safest, most welcoming workplace possible for women, and people of any gender, ethnicity, sexual orientation, or background.”
“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.”
The departure of J. Allen Brack comes as Activision Blizzard faces a lawsuit headed by the State of California, which alleges a culture of horrendous sexual harassment and discrimination present at the company after a multi-year investigation. The company’s subsequent mixed responses have earned immense scrutiny from employees as well as the industry at large, pushing the World of Warcraft developer to enact real and lasting change in its workplaces.
While it’s still unclear how Activision Blizzard will eventually handle its toxic work environment, Brack’s exit does fall in line with a recent statement from CEO Bobby Kotick, which foretold a number of “personnel changes” happening at the company. With that said, the CEO’s initiative was criticized by employees for not properly addressing issues. Internal sources with Game Informer have referred to Brack’s departure as “rushed” and “thoughtless,” with Kotick seemingly looking for “someone to blame rather than actual meaningful change.”
What do you think? Do you think the departure of J. Allen Brack will affect the work environment at Activision Blizzard? Discuss in the comments below and follow Don’t Feed the Gamers on Twitter and Facebook to be informed of future gaming and entertainment news.
Eric Hall2574 Posts
Phone-browsing Wikipedia in one hand and clutching his trusty controller in the other, the legendary Eric Hall spreads his wealth of knowledge as a writer for Don't Feed the Gamers. Be sure to catch his biweekly "Throwback Thursday" segment for a nostalgic look at trivia from the past.