Activision Blizzard has announced that J. Allen Brack, president of Blizzard Entertainment, is stepping down from his role at the company and leaving to “pursue new opportunities” effective immediately. Brack joined Blizzard in 2006, and became the company’s president in 2018.
He is being replaced by Jen Oneal and Mike Ybarra, who will co-lead the company. Oneal was formerly the head of Vicarious Visions, and stepped into the role of executive vice president of development at Blizzard when Vicarious Visions was merged into the company earlier this year, and she has since then been working in a senior development leadership role for the Overwatch and Diablo franchises.
Ybarra, meanwhile, joined Blizzard as executive vice president and GM of platform and technology, overseeing Battle.net, in November 2019, prior to which he worked at Microsoft for nearly two decades, several of which were spent in executive positions.
This change in leadership arrives in the midst of controversies surrounding Activision Blizzard as a whole, who have been taken to court by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DEFH), with the lawsuit bringing to light allegations against the company for widespread and persistent discrimination against and sexual harassment of employees, female employees in particular.
Activision Blizzard employees have been openly critical of the company’s response to the lawsuit and its persistent practices over many years these last few days, while Activision CEO Bobby Kotick recently apologized for the same in an open letter penned to all employees.
In its announcement, Blizzard writes: “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. 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. You’ll hear more from Jen and Mike soon.”