The bloodbath has begun.
Blizzard Entertainment president J. Allen Brack stepped down today following weeks of controversy over the company’s alleged culture of sexism. On July 20, California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing filed an explosive suit alleging rampant gender-based discrimination at Blizzard parent company Activision Blizzard.
Employees at Activision Blizzard say Brack’s departure is just one step toward addressing systemic issues. “No one person is responsible for the culture of Blizzard; the problems at ABK go beyond Blizzard and require systemic change,” tweeted the Activision Blizzard King Workers Alliance, a self-described “organized group of current Activision Blizzard Inc. employees committed to defending our right to a safe and equitable workplace.”
Blizzard’s Jen Oneal and Mike Ybarra will succeed Brack as copresidents. Oneal was previously studio head for Vicarious Visions, known for developing the Tony Hawk and Skylanders series. (Activision acquired the studio in 2005.) Oneal has been involved in several initiatives to promote women in leadership. Ybarra has been at Blizzard for about two years as its executive vice president. He was previously the corporate vice president of Xbox at Microsoft, where he worked for 19 years.
“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,” Brack wrote in a message posted to Blizzard.com. “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.” Brack has worked at Blizzard since 2006, most recently as the executive producer for World of Warcraft. He has been the president of Blizzard since October 2018.
“It became clear to J. Allen Brack and Activision Blizzard leadership that Blizzard Entertainment needs a new direction and leadership given the critical work ahead in terms of workplace culture, game development, and innovation,” the company said in a statement to WIRED.