Blizzard President J. Allen Brack Leaves Company Amid Lawsuit
J. Allen Brack will no longer be president of Blizzard Entertainment, the gaming company announced. Activision Blizzard was sued by California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing for a toxic culture that encouraged sexism, harassment, and discrimination. This development sparked outrage among the gaming community and general public, eventually leading to the end of Brack’s stay at Blizzard.
Blizzard announced the change on their website in August. “Starting today, J. Allen Brack will be stepping down as the leader of the studio,” the announcement read.
In place of Brack, two Blizzard executives will now share leadership responsibilities within the organization. The new co-heads were announced to be Jen O’Neal and Mike Ybarra.
O’Neal has been working as the executive vice president of development for Blizzard since January 2021. She has worked closely with the Diablo and Overwatch game series. O’Neal led game studio Vicarious Visions before it was acquired by Blizzard.
Ybarra was the executive vice president and general manager of platform and technology at Blizzard before entering this new position. He joined Blizzard in 2019 after working with Microsoft and Xbox for around 19 years. He was mainly concerned with the growth of Battle.net and other development projects.
“Jen and Mike have more than three decades of gaming industry experience between them. Moving forward, they will share responsibilities over game development and company operations,” Blizzard’s announcement read. “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.”
“I am confident that Jen Oneal and Mike Ybarra will provide the leadership Blizzard needs 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 so special,” Brack stated.
Blizzard says that fans will hear from the new leaders in the near future.
The gaming giant looks to repair its reputation with this step, but it will likely take time and further steps to repair Blizzard’s name.