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Yahoo Entertainment 02 August, 2021 - 08:51am 24 views

Jen Oneal and Mike Ybarra will take over as co-leaders

Employees were informed of J. Allen Brack’s departure this morning, and an announcement from Activision Blizzard says that former Vicarious Visions leader Jen Oneal and former Xbox executive Mike Ybarra are now co-leaders of the developer. A note on Blizzard.com says the two “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.”

Brack took over Blizzard in 2018, and prior to that, he led the development of World of Warcraft, where the team included the only other person specifically named in the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) lawsuit, Alex Afrasiabi. Women told IGN that working in the company was “akin to working in a frat house.” The World of Warcraft team was specifically cited as an “untouchable” source of the toxic culture, because of the money the franchise brought in and the long tenures of senior employees.

Ahead of their walkout, employees made a list with four demands including an audit of executive staff, an end to forced arbitration clauses, and other changes to improve diversity and equity for marginalized groups at the company. These demands followed an inconsistent and self-admittedly “tone deaf” response from the company, including a letter from Brack where he claimed to have fought “bro culture” throughout his career — despite the lawsuit alleging he was aware of and enabling the behavior cited.

It was great attending the #ActiBlizzWalkout this morning - happy to see so many familiar faces. Together let's build a safe, brighter and fair future for everyone.

Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick has not addressed the issues since his letter last week, and the announcement of Brack’s departure comes from COO Daniel Alegre. Saying that Oneal and Ybarra “will share responsibility for development and operational accountability” at Blizzard, he noted that Oneal has been providing leadership and support for the Overwatch and Diablo franchises, while Ybarra has been an EVP overseeing Battle.net since joining Blizzard in 2019.

Brack’s exit means he won’t be a part of Activision Blizzard’s Q2 earnings presentation and call later today, as the company answers questions from investors and analysts about its current situation.

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.

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Read full article at Yahoo Entertainment

Blizzard's president is out, studio to be co-led by a woman for first time in its history

PC Gamer 03 August, 2021 - 01:40pm

J. Allen Brack will be replaced by Jen Oneal and Mike Ybarra as co-heads.

Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick promised a rapid response. Today Blizzard has announced that J. Allen Brack is leaving his position as the president of the studio, to be replaced by Jen Oneal and Mike Ybarra as co-heads of the studio.

Jen Oneal has been at Blizzard since January, before which she was the studio head of Vicarious Visions. Mike Ybarra was a longtime Xbox employee, holding various positions there, before joining Blizzard in 2019 as an executive vice president. Blizzard's statement says: "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."

Brack had been named in the California lawsuit, specifically concerning how he'd dealt with allegations made against Alex Afrasiabi drinking too much and harassing female employees at company events. It's alleged Brack's punishment for Afrasiabi, verbal counseling, amounted to little more than a slap on the wrist for such behaviour.

Today's statement from Blizzard goes on to make explicit that this change is related to working culture:

"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."

As journalist and former Kotaku EIC Stephen Totilo pointed out, the timing of this seems tied to a quarterly earnings call today on which Brack would have been expected to field questions.

Timing tracks. Activision Blizzard reports quarterly earnings today and, if they do it as they always do, will take live calls from analysts. Brack, as head of Blizzard, usually is on those calls. https://t.co/L1dVX93CKMAugust 3, 2021

Here is a statement from J. Allen Brack, Blizzard's departing president:

"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.

"Finally, thank you all for being a part of the Blizzard community, and for your passion and determination for safety and equality for all."

The discrimination lawsuit is just the latest in a long string of controversies involving Blizzard's management in recent times (here's a timeline of how the company's reputation has collapsed over the last three years). Between massive layoffs, numerous reports on its toxic workplace, and highly anticipated launches reportedly sabotaged by mismanagement, the perception of what used to be PC gaming's darling developer has changed utterly.

The Californian state's proceedings against Blizzard are still pending, and could last for months or years: here's everything we know about the current situation.

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Blizzard President J. Allen Brack Steps Down - IGN

IGN 03 August, 2021 - 01:40pm

J. Allen Brack will be replaced by Jen Oneal and Mike Ybarra as co-heads.

Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick promised a rapid response. Today Blizzard has announced that J. Allen Brack is leaving his position as the president of the studio, to be replaced by Jen Oneal and Mike Ybarra as co-heads of the studio.

Jen Oneal has been at Blizzard since January, before which she was the studio head of Vicarious Visions. Mike Ybarra was a longtime Xbox employee, holding various positions there, before joining Blizzard in 2019 as an executive vice president. Blizzard's statement says: "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."

Brack had been named in the California lawsuit, specifically concerning how he'd dealt with allegations made against Alex Afrasiabi drinking too much and harassing female employees at company events. It's alleged Brack's punishment for Afrasiabi, verbal counseling, amounted to little more than a slap on the wrist for such behaviour.

Today's statement from Blizzard goes on to make explicit that this change is related to working culture:

"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."

As journalist and former Kotaku EIC Stephen Totilo pointed out, the timing of this seems tied to a quarterly earnings call today on which Brack would have been expected to field questions.

Timing tracks. Activision Blizzard reports quarterly earnings today and, if they do it as they always do, will take live calls from analysts. Brack, as head of Blizzard, usually is on those calls. https://t.co/L1dVX93CKMAugust 3, 2021

Here is a statement from J. Allen Brack, Blizzard's departing president:

"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.

"Finally, thank you all for being a part of the Blizzard community, and for your passion and determination for safety and equality for all."

The discrimination lawsuit is just the latest in a long string of controversies involving Blizzard's management in recent times (here's a timeline of how the company's reputation has collapsed over the last three years). Between massive layoffs, numerous reports on its toxic workplace, and highly anticipated launches reportedly sabotaged by mismanagement, the perception of what used to be PC gaming's darling developer has changed utterly.

The Californian state's proceedings against Blizzard are still pending, and could last for months or years: here's everything we know about the current situation.

Thank you for signing up to PC Gamer. You will receive a verification email shortly.

There was a problem. Please refresh the page and try again.

© Future US, Inc. 11 West 42nd Street, 15th Floor, New York, NY 10036.

Activision Reveals New Leadership As J. Allen Brack Departs The Company

PlayStation Universe 03 August, 2021 - 01:40pm

Activision Blizzard has announced that J. Allen Brack, the President of Blizzard, is departing the publishing giant “to pursue new opportunities.”

Speaking in a statement on the official Activision Blizzard, Daniel Allegre, President and COO, confirmed that Jen Oneal and Mike Ybarra will now head up Blizzard as co-leaders.

Oneal previously served as Executive Vice President of Development at Blizzard and also headed up Vicarious Visions, while Ybarra served as Microsoft for 20 years before being appointed Executive Vice President and General Manager at Blizzard in 2019.

Jen and Mike will share responsibility for development and operational accountability for the company. Both are leaders of great character and integrity and are deeply committed to ensuring our workplace is the most inspired, welcoming environment for creative excellence and to upholding our highest game development standards.

With their many years of industry experience and deep commitment to integrity and inclusivity, I am certain Jen and Mike will lead Blizzard with care, compassion and a dedication to excellence.

The sexual harassment lawsuit filed by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing last month mentioned Brack, one of the few Activision Blizzard employees to have bee mentioned by name in the filing.

[Source – VGC]

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New Leaders At Activision Blizzard After #MeToo Workplace Walkout

Patch.com 03 August, 2021 - 12:26pm

IRVINE, CA —An Irvine-based video game company is changing leadership after widespread accusations of sexism in the workplace. Activision Blizzard's former president J. Allen Brack will be replaced by Jen Oneal and Mike Ybarra, who will co-lead Blizzard moving forward.

Workers at the company's Irvine office staged a one-day walkout one week ago over alleged sexism in the workplace. That was one day after the company announced a number of steps to address the harassment charges. Blizzard, owned by Santa Monica-based Activision Blizzard and had launched such iconic games as Call of Duty and World of Warcraft, faces a lawsuit by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing, alleging a "frat boy workplace culture" that includes sexual harassment of women by executives.

The new leadership comes from within Blizzard Entertainment, according to that company. Oneal is the former head of Vicarious Visions, and Ybarra, a former Xbox executive, joined the company in 2019. Ybarra was formerly Blizzard's executive vice president and general manager of platform and technology.

The former president released a statement Tuesday on the new changes in leadership in the face of workplace controversy.

"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," Brack said. "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."

"I want to recognize and thank all those who have come forward in the past and in recent days. I so appreciate your courage. Every voice matters—and we will do a better job of listening now, and in the future," Kotick said in a Twitter post, linking to the letter.

"Our initial responses to the issues we face together, and to your concerns, were, quite frankly, tone-deaf. It is imperative that we acknowledge all perspectives and experiences and respect the feelings of those who have been mistreated in any way. I am sorry that we did not provide the right empathy and understanding," he wrote.

"...We are taking swift action to be the compassionate, caring company you came to work for and to ensure a safe environment. There is no place anywhere at our company for discrimination, harassment, or unequal treatment of any kind."

The letter went on to say that Activision Blizzard has asked the law firm WilmerHale to conduct a review of its policies and procedures "to ensure that we have and maintain best practices to promote a respectful and inclusive workplace. This work will begin immediately."

Kotick also cited the following actions, effective immediately:

The Activision Blizzard lawsuit could be a watershed moment for the business world. Here's why

CNN 03 August, 2021 - 09:35am

That company, Activision Blizzard, is now being roiled by a scandal. Over the past several days, accusations of discrimination and harassment at the gaming giant have snowballed into an avalanche of dissent. Amid that dissent, the first high-profile departure from the company was announced Tuesday morning, when Activision Blizzard COO Daniel Alegre told employees that J. Allen Brack, president of the company's Blizzard Entertainment studio, would be leaving his post.

The unfolding crisis, and the response to it from employees, echoes similar controversies at major tech firms. And the fallout from what happens at Activision Blizzard is likely to have major ripple effects not only across the gaming world but also the tech industry and corporate America at large.

The backlash against (and within) Activision Blizzard began with a lawsuit filed by California's Department of Fair Employment and Housing.

The lawsuit alleged a "frat boy" work culture where multiple female employees were subjected to gender discrimination, sexual harassment, and unequal pay, and that "the company's executives and human resources personnel knew of the harassment and failed to take reasonable steps to prevent the unlawful conduct, and instead retaliated against women who complained."

Several former Activision Blizzard employees had already begun sharing their experiences on social media in the wake of the lawsuit, but the company's effort to paint the suit's claims as "inaccurate" and "distorted" prompted more than 2,000 current and former workers to sign a petition slamming that response as "abhorrent and insulting."

Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick tried to dial the temperature down, admitting in a note to employees last week that the company's initial response had been "tone deaf" and that it was hiring an outside law firm to investigate the claims.

But that didn't stop dozens of employees from staging a walkout at the company's campus in Irvine, California (with hundreds more joining virtually) on Wednesday. Some of the demands included greater pay transparency and an end to mandatory arbitration.

It sets up a standoff between Kotick, an industry veteran who became CEO of Activision in 1991, and his employees. And that could end up being a watershed moment not just for Activision Blizzard, but for the gaming and tech industries at large, both of which have faced accusations of sexism, racism and a broader lack of diversity for years.

"We know that gaming is a little bit less diverse than even some other aspects of the technology industry, and that there is a bro culture there," said Y-Vonne Hutchinson, founder of inclusion consultancy firm ReadySet and author of the upcoming book "How to Talk to Your Boss About Race."

Game development, which involves long hours and even overnight marathons for days at a time, creates "this unhealthy working culture generally, and one that ... relies on the person's love of gaming, as opposed to compensation, to get people to do these things," she added. "And then you compound it with the bro culture that you often do see in gaming, and in particular, certain kinds of gaming companies."

Spurred on by the California lawsuit and its aftermath, several employees across the gaming industry are now speaking out about sexual harassment, pay disparities and other aspects of the culture. All eyes will now be on how Activision Blizzard's leadership handles the situation and whether it faces more consequences or changes beyond the Tuesday announcement of Brack's departure.

Laws against sexual harassment and discrimination have "finally become more and more empowered and enforced," said Walter Foster, a labor and employment lawyer at the firm Eckert Seamans Cherin & Mellott in Boston who previously worked in the Massachusetts state attorney general's office.

"The allegations brought by the California state department [are] seminal, and probably bellwether type litigation for this industry," he said. "It's being brought by a state agency, so they have the resources of the state. They don't invest in those litigations until they know they have a good case. ... You take a case to make an example."

So far, Kotick appears to be following a similar playbook to other tech companies faced with corporate scandals — most notably Uber and Zenefits — by launching an investigation by an outside law firm. But those investigations don't always result in the outcome employees might hope for, and Activision Blizzard (ATVI) employees are already pushing back against Kotick for not including them in the process of selecting the third party auditing their company culture.

"Too often, investigations go awry. Victims are silenced and the bad behavior continues," said Melanie Leslie, dean of the Cardozo School of Law at Yeshiva University. Companies often use investigations to gather ammunition to defend against lawsuits or to "whitewash the scandal" in the public forum, she added. Even well-intentioned investigations can struggle to get at the truth because employees may be afraid to be candid with company-appointed lawyers.

"Most important, internal investigations do little to get at the real problem -- the need to change a particular corporate culture," Leslie said. "What's really needed is effective ethical leadership."

So far, in Activision Blizzard's case, there has been no explicit demand for the common next step in corporate scandals: the resignation of the CEO. Workers participating in the walkout have said they want to work with the leadership team on their demands.

"We expect a prompt response and a commitment to action from leadership ... and look forward to maintaining a constructive dialogue on how to build a better Activision Blizzard for all employees," the walkout participants said in a statement responding to Kotick's letter that was seen by CNN Business.

Under Kotick's leadership, Activision Blizzard has grown into one of the world's biggest gaming companies, with revenue of $2.2 billion last quarter and more than 9,500 employees worldwide. Kotick's compensation, one of the largest in the business, has been controversial. In April, he agreed to reduce his 2021 annual salary from $1.75 million to $875,000 "to address shareholder concerns regarding the quantum of the CEO's compensation," according to the company's latest proxy statement. But just two months later, Kotick received a $155 million pay package — most of it tied to Activision Blizzard's stock performance — which was narrowly approved by shareholders despite pressure from an activist investor to reject it.

Activision Blizzard's board on Monday expressed its support for Kotick.

"First and foremost, the Board recognizes and thanks all those who have bravely come forward. There is no place for discrimination, harassment, or unequal treatment at Activision Blizzard or anywhere," Brian Kelly, the board's chairman, and Robert Morgado, its lead independent director, said in a statement to CNN Business.

"We have complete confidence in Bobby's leadership. He has successfully led the company for over three decades in a rapidly evolving industry while increasing the value of the company by tens of billions, and has been unwavering in his commitment to create a supportive and respectful culture," they added. "He understands that the talent at Activision Blizzard is the lifeblood of the company and it's essential to have a safe, diverse, and inclusive workplace. We are working with him and his leadership team to ensure that action is taken as we move forward and look toward the future."

But Hutchinson said, based on her work on diversity and inclusion in the tech industry, that when scandals like this happen an overhaul at the top may ultimately be necessary to truly fix the problem.

"An investigation is not going to substitute for the need to change leadership," she said. "The message that it sends if you run an investigation and everybody still stays there is that actually it's okay. So I think they're going to have to clean house."

For now, the biggest change is at the Blizzard division, with Brack out. Brack will be replaced by Blizzard executives Jen Oneal and Mike Ybarrra, who will co-lead the division. While the company did not detail a reason for his exit, Brack said in a statement: "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."

However the situation shakes out, Activision Blizzard's leadership will find the enormous public pressure — in addition to the pressure from California's investigation itself — impossible to ignore or brush off. And much of that comes down to how empowered employees feel to voice their opinions and their discontent.

"We are living in the middle of the great resignation, where a lot of people are looking at their workplaces and saying this no longer serves me," Hutchinson said. "And I think that part of that reflection and that walking away is going to have to do with these toxic bro cultures that hurt everyone."

© 2021 Cable News Network. A Warner Media Company. All Rights Reserved.

Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | AdChoices | Do not Sell my Personal Information | Manage cookies+

The Activision Blizzard lawsuit could be a watershed moment for the business world. Here's why

Polygon 03 August, 2021 - 09:35am

That company, Activision Blizzard, is now being roiled by a scandal. Over the past several days, accusations of discrimination and harassment at the gaming giant have snowballed into an avalanche of dissent. Amid that dissent, the first high-profile departure from the company was announced Tuesday morning, when Activision Blizzard COO Daniel Alegre told employees that J. Allen Brack, president of the company's Blizzard Entertainment studio, would be leaving his post.

The unfolding crisis, and the response to it from employees, echoes similar controversies at major tech firms. And the fallout from what happens at Activision Blizzard is likely to have major ripple effects not only across the gaming world but also the tech industry and corporate America at large.

The backlash against (and within) Activision Blizzard began with a lawsuit filed by California's Department of Fair Employment and Housing.

The lawsuit alleged a "frat boy" work culture where multiple female employees were subjected to gender discrimination, sexual harassment, and unequal pay, and that "the company's executives and human resources personnel knew of the harassment and failed to take reasonable steps to prevent the unlawful conduct, and instead retaliated against women who complained."

Several former Activision Blizzard employees had already begun sharing their experiences on social media in the wake of the lawsuit, but the company's effort to paint the suit's claims as "inaccurate" and "distorted" prompted more than 2,000 current and former workers to sign a petition slamming that response as "abhorrent and insulting."

Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick tried to dial the temperature down, admitting in a note to employees last week that the company's initial response had been "tone deaf" and that it was hiring an outside law firm to investigate the claims.

But that didn't stop dozens of employees from staging a walkout at the company's campus in Irvine, California (with hundreds more joining virtually) on Wednesday. Some of the demands included greater pay transparency and an end to mandatory arbitration.

It sets up a standoff between Kotick, an industry veteran who became CEO of Activision in 1991, and his employees. And that could end up being a watershed moment not just for Activision Blizzard, but for the gaming and tech industries at large, both of which have faced accusations of sexism, racism and a broader lack of diversity for years.

"We know that gaming is a little bit less diverse than even some other aspects of the technology industry, and that there is a bro culture there," said Y-Vonne Hutchinson, founder of inclusion consultancy firm ReadySet and author of the upcoming book "How to Talk to Your Boss About Race."

Game development, which involves long hours and even overnight marathons for days at a time, creates "this unhealthy working culture generally, and one that ... relies on the person's love of gaming, as opposed to compensation, to get people to do these things," she added. "And then you compound it with the bro culture that you often do see in gaming, and in particular, certain kinds of gaming companies."

Spurred on by the California lawsuit and its aftermath, several employees across the gaming industry are now speaking out about sexual harassment, pay disparities and other aspects of the culture. All eyes will now be on how Activision Blizzard's leadership handles the situation and whether it faces more consequences or changes beyond the Tuesday announcement of Brack's departure.

Laws against sexual harassment and discrimination have "finally become more and more empowered and enforced," said Walter Foster, a labor and employment lawyer at the firm Eckert Seamans Cherin & Mellott in Boston who previously worked in the Massachusetts state attorney general's office.

"The allegations brought by the California state department [are] seminal, and probably bellwether type litigation for this industry," he said. "It's being brought by a state agency, so they have the resources of the state. They don't invest in those litigations until they know they have a good case. ... You take a case to make an example."

So far, Kotick appears to be following a similar playbook to other tech companies faced with corporate scandals — most notably Uber and Zenefits — by launching an investigation by an outside law firm. But those investigations don't always result in the outcome employees might hope for, and Activision Blizzard (ATVI) employees are already pushing back against Kotick for not including them in the process of selecting the third party auditing their company culture.

"Too often, investigations go awry. Victims are silenced and the bad behavior continues," said Melanie Leslie, dean of the Cardozo School of Law at Yeshiva University. Companies often use investigations to gather ammunition to defend against lawsuits or to "whitewash the scandal" in the public forum, she added. Even well-intentioned investigations can struggle to get at the truth because employees may be afraid to be candid with company-appointed lawyers.

"Most important, internal investigations do little to get at the real problem -- the need to change a particular corporate culture," Leslie said. "What's really needed is effective ethical leadership."

So far, in Activision Blizzard's case, there has been no explicit demand for the common next step in corporate scandals: the resignation of the CEO. Workers participating in the walkout have said they want to work with the leadership team on their demands.

"We expect a prompt response and a commitment to action from leadership ... and look forward to maintaining a constructive dialogue on how to build a better Activision Blizzard for all employees," the walkout participants said in a statement responding to Kotick's letter that was seen by CNN Business.

Under Kotick's leadership, Activision Blizzard has grown into one of the world's biggest gaming companies, with revenue of $2.2 billion last quarter and more than 9,500 employees worldwide. Kotick's compensation, one of the largest in the business, has been controversial. In April, he agreed to reduce his 2021 annual salary from $1.75 million to $875,000 "to address shareholder concerns regarding the quantum of the CEO's compensation," according to the company's latest proxy statement. But just two months later, Kotick received a $155 million pay package — most of it tied to Activision Blizzard's stock performance — which was narrowly approved by shareholders despite pressure from an activist investor to reject it.

Activision Blizzard's board on Monday expressed its support for Kotick.

"First and foremost, the Board recognizes and thanks all those who have bravely come forward. There is no place for discrimination, harassment, or unequal treatment at Activision Blizzard or anywhere," Brian Kelly, the board's chairman, and Robert Morgado, its lead independent director, said in a statement to CNN Business.

"We have complete confidence in Bobby's leadership. He has successfully led the company for over three decades in a rapidly evolving industry while increasing the value of the company by tens of billions, and has been unwavering in his commitment to create a supportive and respectful culture," they added. "He understands that the talent at Activision Blizzard is the lifeblood of the company and it's essential to have a safe, diverse, and inclusive workplace. We are working with him and his leadership team to ensure that action is taken as we move forward and look toward the future."

But Hutchinson said, based on her work on diversity and inclusion in the tech industry, that when scandals like this happen an overhaul at the top may ultimately be necessary to truly fix the problem.

"An investigation is not going to substitute for the need to change leadership," she said. "The message that it sends if you run an investigation and everybody still stays there is that actually it's okay. So I think they're going to have to clean house."

For now, the biggest change is at the Blizzard division, with Brack out. Brack will be replaced by Blizzard executives Jen Oneal and Mike Ybarrra, who will co-lead the division. While the company did not detail a reason for his exit, Brack said in a statement: "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."

However the situation shakes out, Activision Blizzard's leadership will find the enormous public pressure — in addition to the pressure from California's investigation itself — impossible to ignore or brush off. And much of that comes down to how empowered employees feel to voice their opinions and their discontent.

"We are living in the middle of the great resignation, where a lot of people are looking at their workplaces and saying this no longer serves me," Hutchinson said. "And I think that part of that reflection and that walking away is going to have to do with these toxic bro cultures that hurt everyone."

© 2021 Cable News Network. A Warner Media Company. All Rights Reserved.

Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | AdChoices | Do not Sell my Personal Information | Manage cookies+

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