The president of Blizzard, J. Allen Brack, has stepped down from the company today amid ongoing upheaval within the ranks over employee working conditions and harassment lawsuits.
News of his immediate departure was released over the Blizzard news wire, as well as naming his co-successors in former Xbox Corporate Vice President Mike Ybarra and former Vicarious Visions studio head Jen Oneal, who will now lead the company through significant changes.
"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," the statement announced today. "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."
Blizzard has been in an ongoing state of disarray over the past month as allegations of a 'frat boy' office culture, gender discrimination in pay practices and a sexual harassment lawsuit were lodged against the company responsible for many of gaming's most enduring franchises.
Last week employees at the California company staged a walkout to force leadership to take notice of a list of demands the workforce had in relation to the allegations.
Thank you, everyone, for all the support today as we #ActiBlizzWalkout. It really means a lot.— Celestalon #ActiBlizzWalkout (@Celestalon) July 28, 2021
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We want Blizzard to be an awesome place to work, for everyone. pic.twitter.com/vjWvN6oDHi
In his departing words to the Blizzard community, president J. Allen Brack – who has overseen the company's operations since taking over from Mike Morhaime in 2018 after joining the developer on WoW in 2005 – hoped the two new co-leaders could hasten the rate at which the company improves conditions for its workers.
"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 said in today's 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."