Slashing Jay Brack takes over Activision Blizzard's leadership

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Slashing Jay Brack takes over Activision Blizzard's leadership
He has taken over the video gaming giant’s leadership to pursue new opportunities, according to a letter from Activision Blizzard president and chief operating officer Daniel Alegre to employees Monday. When Slashing Jay steps in, Brack will be replaced by Jen Oneal and Mike Ybarra, who were named Co-Head of Blizzard. Oneal and Ybarra share, according to the letter, responsibility for project development and operational accountability for the Company. Oneal previously served as Blizzard's executive vice president of development, providing support to the company's Diablo and Overwatch franchises, while Ybarra had 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 Blizzard, oneal was head of the gaming studio Vicarious Visions and Ybarra was a senior executive in Microsoft's Xbox division. Both are leaders of great character and integrity and deeply committed to ensuring our workplace is the most welcoming, inspiring environment for creative 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 sure 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 provide the leadership Blizzard needs to realize its full potential and will accelerate the pace of change. I anticipate them 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 which make Blizzard special, he added. 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 filed by the California 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 retaliation in the workplace. Activision Blizzard's legal counsel called the allegations in a lengthy statement distorted and in many cases false, and presented significant changes it made to create an inclusive workplace. According to a subsequent email received by Activision Blizzard Chief Compliance Officer Frances Townsend, who called the lawsuit truly irresponsible and labeled the suit genuinely incorrect, old, and out of context stories. The response prompted a petition signed by more than 2,000 former 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, 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. The CEO of Activision Blizzard issued a statement on Twitter saying the company response tone deaf, adding that there is no place at our company for discrimination, harassment, or unequal treatment of any kind. Kotick also encouraged anyone with an experience you believe violates our policies or in any way 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's letter concluded. You have my unwavering commitment that we will develop our company together and we will be the most inclusive, inspiring company in the world. Shares of the company dipped during trading session following Tuesday's announcement. Activision Blizzard is preparing to release its second quarter earnings for fiscal 2021 after the bell.