Ubisoft’s Yves Guillemot sends open letter regarding sexual harrassment: “Change Starts Today”

In response to the swathe of recent reports of sexual harassment and misbehaviour made within Ubisoft, today CEO Yves Guillemot sent an internal letter to all employees to address the situation. Entitled simply “Change Starts Today” the letter was also shared by the company publicly. 

The letter details that recently reported behaviours are being taken seriously “I want to be clear: you are heard, and you are helping drive necessary change within the company” and that these “are absolutely not acceptable.” And sets out wide-reaching “fundamental changes” to the company’s efforts and rules in these areas.

“Specifically, I have decided to revise the composition of the Editorial Department, transform our human resource processes, and improve the accountability of all managers on these subjects,” Guillemot states.

“We are not looking for a quick fix, but rather a structural shift at Ubisoft that fully aligns with our values – values that do not tolerate toxic behaviors and where everyone feels safe to speak out. We must do everything we can to ensure no one is in these situations ever again.”

More specifically the letter details the following changes to the company structure and procedures:

Appointment of a Head of Workplace Culture

I have appointed Lidwine Sauer to oversee all our efforts in this area. Lidwine is familiar to some of you from her role as a Projects Director in the Strategic Innovation Lab, and I am very pleased that she has agreed to take on this responsibility. As I already told Lidwine, she is empowered to examine all aspects of our company’s culture and to suggest comprehensive changes that will benefit all of us. Lidwine will report directly to me in this new capacity and will create an international and diverse multidisciplinary working group within Ubisoft to support these efforts. She will share more details with you about this taskforce next week.

Employee Listening Sessions in All Locations

Starting Monday, we will begin hosting a series of employee listening sessions, which some of you already have organized informally. These are not Q&A sessions or town hall meetings; the goal of these sessions is to actively and considerately listen to your experiences and concerns, as well as your suggestions for improvement. They will be held on Teams and will be moderated by different external facilitators. Your managing directors will notify you of the dates for these sessions and how to attend.

Launch of a Global Employee Survey

To complement these sessions, we will be launching a global employee survey on this subject within the next two weeks. We are in the process of finalizing it now. Our aim is to encourage candid feedback, and I ask that everyone please participate. It will be entirely anonymous and will provide us with extremely valuable insights to spur change within the company.

Ongoing Investigations into Allegations

In response to recent allegations, we launched a series of investigations that are being led by independent third parties. I know that many of you are eager to hear the results of these investigations. However, we must take the time necessary to ensure that they are carried out with the required rigor. When they are concluded, all appropriate actions will be taken. Should additional allegations or claims be brought to our attention, we will fully investigate those, as well.

In addition, Ubisoft has set up an online confidential alert platform enabling employees as well as external individuals to report harassment, discrimination and other inappropriate behaviors, including those that infringe on our Code of Fair Conduct. To ensure anonymity and confidentiality, this platform is administered by a third party, Whispli, and complaints are reviewed by a committee of CSR and legal experts.

Comprehensive Review of Policies & Procedures

We are in the process of selecting an external consulting firm to audit and improve our procedures and policies. They also will rely on the feedback from the group questionnaire and listening sessions to feed their thinking. My goal is to ensure Ubisoft’s policies and procedures are best in class. We will share the audit’s results and the subsequent changes that are rolled out as they happen.

Diversity & Inclusion

In parallel, we are creating the new position of Head of Diversity and Inclusion, who will report directly to me. I am committed to improving diversity across the organization, including in all of our management teams.

About Seth Barton

Seth Barton is the editor of MCV – which covers every aspect of the industry: development, publishing, marketing and much more. Before that Seth toiled in games retail at Electronics Boutique, studied film at university, published console and PC games for the BBC, and spent many years working in tech journalism. Living in South East London, he divides his little free time between board games, video games, beer and family. You can find him tweeting @sethbarton1.

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