Blizzard co-head Jen Oneal is stepping down and leaving the company
Oneal and Ybarra stepped in as co-leaders of Blizzard after President J. Allen Brack resigned in August. Brack resigned after becoming one of multiple focal points in the California Department of Fair Housing and Employment lawsuit against Activision for gender discrimination in the workplace.
Oneal will move to a separate position at Blizzard until his departure at the end of the year. Ybarra is now leading Blizzard with immediate effect.
Oneal was Blizzard’s co-leader for just under three months. She first worked as the head of Vicarious Visions, which was owned by Activision and later merged under the Blizzard umbrella. She had worked with Activision for over 20 years.
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In a blog post, Oneal explained their decision to quit Blizzard. Oneal said she intends to focus on promoting diversity and inclusion in the video game industry, but is not sure what form this will take yet.
“I’m not doing this because I’m hopeless for Blizzard, quite the opposite – I’m inspired by the passion of everyone here, working with all of their hearts for meaningful and lasting change,” Oneal wrote. “This energy has inspired me to go out and explore how I can do more to make games and diversity intersect, and I hope to have a wider impact on the industry that will also benefit Blizzard (and other studios). “
Oneal added that Activision-Blizzard-King (ABK) is supporting Oneal’s efforts by agreeing to provide a million dollar grant to Women in Games International, a Los Angeles-based nonprofit that promotes economic equality and gender equality in industry. Oneal is a member of the WIGI Board of Directors.
Blizzard COO Daniel Alegre has made public an email originally sent to employees shaping the company’s plans and Oneal’s departure.
“[Ybarra] and the rest of Blizzard’s management team are wholeheartedly committed to our people, and I have the utmost confidence that they will ensure that Blizzard continues to create great games that connect the world while continuing to build a culture of respect and inclusion, ”Alegre wrote.
Activision CEO Bobby Kotick told GamesBeat he remains confident in Oneal’s ability to lead.
“I think she really wants to go and transform the industry,” Kotick said. Her mission in life is to create great games and transform the industry so that gambling, as more women enter the workforce, is more inviting and welcoming to women. It will be a great opportunity for us to partner with her as she leads the charge. “
What Oneal and Ybarra’s responsibilities included remains somewhat vague. Both were relatively recent additions to Blizzard, giving them some distance from an alleged long-standing corporate culture of gender discrimination and harassment. In his resignation statement, Brack said Oneal and Ybarra “will provide the leadership that Blizzard needs to realize its full potential and accelerate the pace of change.”
Oneal’s first public statement as co-leader of Blizzard was an assurance to shareholders that the Diablo and Overwatch sequels were “making great strides.”
Blizzard’s most recent commitments include plans to introduce a zero tolerance policy against harassment, a 50% increase in the number of women and non-binary people hired by the company, investments in diversity, waiver of the arbitration required by the company for complaints of sexual harassment and discrimination, increased visibility on pay equity. , and quarterly progress updates.
Kotick also pledged to reduce his salary to a minimum of $ 62,500 in California while receiving no bonuses or equity.
Activision-Blizzard announced during Tuesday’s call to shareholders that Overwatch 2 and Diablo 4 have once again been delayed.
Correction: Activision Blizzard has clarified the timeline for announcing Jen Oneal’s departure. The article has been updated to reflect the new information.