Activision CEO Allen Brack to step down from the company

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Activision CEO Allen Brack to step down from the company
Activision boss Daniel Alegre will step down from his role at Blizzard Entertainment to pursue new opportunities, according to a letter of President and Chief Operating Officer J. Allen Brack to employees on Monday. Brack will be replaced immediately by Jen Oneal and Mike Ybarra, who have been appointed as co-leaders of Blizzard. Oneal and Ybarra will share responsibility for development and operational accountability for the company, according to the letter. Oneal previously served as Blizzard's executive vice president of development, providing support to the company's Diablo and Overwatch franchises, while Ybarra previously served as Blizzard's executive vice president and general manager of platform and technology, overseeing the company's development services organizations and Battle.net. Before Vicarious Visions was the head of Microsoft's Xbox division and Ybarra was a senior executive at Blizzard. Both are leaders of great character and integrity and are deeply committed to ensuring our workplace is the most creative environment for excellence and to upholding our highest game development standards, Alegre said. With their many years of industry experience and deep commitment to integrity and inclusivity, I am confident Jen and Mike will be with Blizzard with care, compassion and a dedication to excellence. In a statement, Brack expresses his confidence that Oneal and Ybarra will provide the leadership that Blizzard needs to take to meet its full potential and will accelerate the pace of change. I anticipate they will do so with passion and enthusiasm and that he can be trusted to lead with the highest levels of integrity and commitment to the components of our culture that make Blizzard so special, he said. Brack's departure is part of an executive shakeup as the company faces a wave of backlash due to its response to a discrimination lawsuit by California's Department of Fair Employment and Housing. The DFEH suit accuses the video game giant of paying their male employees less than their female counterpart, providing them with fewer opportunities to advance, and ignoring complaints from female employees regarding blatant harassment, discrimination and retaliation in the workplace. Activision Blizzard's legal counsel initially called the allegations in a lengthy statement, and in many cases false, described Blizzard's past in a distorted description and said significant changes it made to create an inclusive workplace. According to a subsequent email sent by Activision Blizzard Chief Compliance Officer Frances Townsend, who called the lawsuit truly undeserved and irresponsible and said it included factually incorrect, old, and out of context stories. The response prompted a petition signed by over 2,000 ex-actionnaire and current Activision Blizzard employees, blasting the company's statements as abhorrent and insulting, as well as an employee walkout demanding an end to mandatory arbitration clauses in all current and future employee contracts, more inclusive recruiting, interviewing, hiring, and promotion policies, publication of relative compensation, promotion rates, and salary ranges for all employees, and a third party audit of the company's reporting structure, HR department, and Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick issued a statement later calling the company response tone deaf, adding that there is no place anywhere in our company for discrimination, harassment, or unequal treatment of any kind. Kotick also encouraged anyone with an experience that violated our policies or made you uncomfortable in the workplace to report the issue and said Activision Blizzard would take multiple steps to ensure a safe and inclusive workplace, including hiring an outside law firm to review the company's policies. Your well-being remains my priority and I will spare no company resource ensuring that our company has the most welcoming, comfortable, and safe culture possible, Kotick concludes. You have my unwavering commitment that we can together improve our company and will be the most inspiring, inclusive entertainment company in the world. Shares of the company have tumbled following a last minute announcement in trading session on Tuesday. Activision Blizzard is set to release its second quarter earnings for fiscal 2021 after the bell.