In a letter to the company, Activision Blizzard President and COO Daniel Alegre announced that Jen Oneal and Mike Ybarra would be the new co-leaders of Blizzard.
In the statement, Alegre confirmed outgoing Blizzard President J. Allen Brack would be “leaving the company to pursue new opportunities” with Oneal and Alegre stepping into the roles, effective immediately. They will share responsibilities “for development and operational accountability for the company.”
Both have history with the company and the industry in general. Oneal has worked in the company for 18 years, serving as the former head of Vicarious Visions studio and Executive Vice President of Development at Blizzard supporting Diablo and Overwatch. Alegre was recently the Executive Vice President & General Manager of Platform and Technology at Blizzard monitoring Battle.Net, and previously served as a senior executive at Xbox.
This change in leadership comes after the State of California sued Activision Blizzard for its culture of sexual harassment, discrimination, and retaliation against women. The lawsuit details findings from a two-year investigation where current and former employees described a company culture where women were continually subject to unwanted sexual comments and physical touching, lower wages and delayed promotions, and more.
Brack was specifically named in the lawsuit for allegedly failing to properly deal with employee complaints. For example, he allegedly knew of Senior Creative Director of World of Warcraft Alex Afrasiabi’s sexual harassment, but only gave him “a slap on the wrist (i.e. verbal counseling).” Brack did not mention his knowledge of complaints in an email he sent to the employees in the aftermath of the lawsuit.
Brack left a statement in the announcement on Blizzard’s website, stating:
“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. 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.”