Blizzard co-leader Jen Oneal has announced that she is leaving Activision Blizzard, just three months after she joined the company.
In a statement, the former Vicarious Visions boss revealed that she was stepping down, leaving Mike Ybarra as the sole boss of Blizzard.
“I want you to hear from me personally that I have made the decision to step away from co-leading Blizzard Entertainment and will transition to a new position before departing ABK at the end of the year,” said Oneal. “Effective immediately, Mike Ybarra will lead Blizzard.
“I am doing this not because I am without hope for Blizzard, quite the opposite–I’m inspired by the passion of everyone here, working towards meaningful, lasting change with their whole hearts. This energy has inspired me to step out and explore how I can do more to have games and diversity intersect, and hopefully make a broader industry impact that will benefit Blizzard (and other studios) as well. While I am not totally sure what form that will take, I am excited to embark on a new journey to find out.”
Oneal also stated that Activision Blizzard leadership has supported her decision, and that they will be making a $1 million grant to Women in Games International – a nonprofit organisation (of which Oneal is a part) that cultivates and advances equality and diversity in the global games industry. This money will be used to fund skill-building and mentorship programs.
“With my remaining time here, I will be transferring my responsibilities to Mike [Ybarra], and transitioning into a new role working closely with Activision Blizzard and WIGI to determine the first steps around how the grant will be utilized, and its structure. The partnership is full of potential and is another step in a long-term commitment to create better support, resources, and guidance to women in the gaming industry.
“And to everyone at Blizzard, thank you–for your honesty, your belief in a better future, and your incredible work ethic, creativity, and passion. You inspired me to find my own path in championing the cause for equality and my hope is that you inspire our players to do the same.”
Oneal’s departure comes as the company finds itself embroiled in scandal, after Activision Blizzard was accused of having a “frat boy culture” rife with sexual harassment in a lawsuit filed by by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing. Since then, over 20 employees have “exited” the company, while another 20 have faced “other types of disciplinary action.”