Activistering CEO Allen Brack to step down from Activision

398
4
Activistering CEO Allen Brack to step down from Activision
Daniel Alegre will step down from his position at NBC Entertainment and consider new opportunities, according to a letter from Activision President and Chief Operating Officer R. Allen Brack to employees on Monday. Within two weeks, Brack will be replaced by Jen Oneal and Mike Ybarra who have been appointed as co-leader of Blizzard. Oneal and Ybarra share responsibility for the development and operational accountability for the company, according to the letter. Oneal has previously served as Blizzard's executive vice president of development providing support to the company's Diablo and Overwatch franchises, while Ybarra was previously served as Blizzard's executive vice president and general manager for platform and technology, overseeing the company's development services groups and Battle.net. Prior to Blizzard, Oneal was the head of Vicarious Visions Gaming studio and Ybarra was senior director of Xbox Division at Microsoft. Both are leaders of great character and integrity and are deeply committed to providing a seamless environment for creative excellence and the upholding our highest game development standards, Alegre said. With their many years of industry experience and deep commitment to integrity and inclusivity, I am certain that Jen and Mike will lead Blizzard with care, compassion and a dedication to excellence. In a statement, Brack expressed his confidence that Oneal and Ybarra will be the leadership Blizzard needs to provide 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 special, added he. The departure of Brack is part of an executive shakeup as the company faces a wave of backlash due to its response to a discrimination lawsuit from California's Department of Fair Employment and Housing. The DFEH suit accuses the video game giant of paying its male employees less than their female counterparts, providing them with fewer opportunities to advance, and ignoring complaints from female employees regarding blatant harassment, discrimination and retaliatory in the workplace. Activision Blizzard's legal counsel initially called the allegations inaccurate and in some cases true, descriptions of Blizzard's past in a lengthy statement and listed significant changes they made to create an inclusive workplace. According to a subsequent email was sent out by Activision Blizzard's Chief Compliance Officer Francis Townsend, who called the lawsuit truly impermissible and meritless and said it included factually incorrect, old and out of context stories. The response prompted a petition signed by over 2,000 current and former 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 executive staff. Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick later issued a statement calling his own response tone deaf, adding that there is no place at our company for discrimination, harassment, or unequal treatment of any kind. What would be a long haul decision on whether Activision Blizzard would issue an apology to anyone with bad experience who violates our policies or in any way made you uncomfortable in the workplace? Your well-being remains my priority and I will spare no company resource ensuring that our company has the most comfortable, safe and welcoming culture possible, Kotick's letter concluded. You have my unwavering commitment that we will improve our company together and we will be the most inclusive entertainment company in the world? Shares of the company have tumbled following Tuesday's trading session. Activision Blizzard is expected to release its second quarter earnings for fiscal 2021 after the bell.