J. Allen Brack steps down as Blizzard Entertainment president


Blizzard Entertainment President J. Allen Brack stepped down from his position Tuesday. The move was announced in a posting on Blizzard’s website, which also said Brack would be succeeded in the role by Jen Oneal and Mike Ybarra, who will work as co-leaders for the embattled company as it faces fallout from a recent sexual harassment and discrimination the lawsuit.

Human Resources executive Jesse Meschuk is also no longer with Activision Blizzard as of Tuesday, the company confirmed to The Post, declining further comment. Meschuk did not respond to a request for comment immediately.

The suit, filed July 20 by California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing, alleged numerous incidents in which Blizzard’s male employees groped or harassed women in the workplace or at company events. It also alleged Brack was specifically aware of several such incidents and did not take steps to sufficiently mitigate toxicity at the company.

Brack assumed the role of Blizzard’s president in October 2018, succeeding Mike Morhaime. Brack had worked with Blizzard for 15 years, starting as a senior producer in January 2006.

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Both Oneal and Ybarra are relatively new to the company, which develops popular video game titles “World of Warcraft” and “Overwatch.” Oneal joined the company in January from Vicarious Visions, another Activision Blizzard subsidiary, and had been overseeing the development and support of Blizzard’s Diablo and Overwatch franchises. Ybarra came to Blizzard in November of 2019 after more than 19 years working with Xbox. In his final post there, he served as the corporate vice president, overseeing Xbox Live, Xbox Game Pass and Microsoft’s now defunct streaming platform, Mixer.

“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,” the posting on Blizzard’s website read. “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.”

Current and former employees were unsurprised by the news, saying that Oneal and Ybarra had seemed to be groomed to be next in line.

“Jen Oneal was always the perfect choice to replace [Brack],” said a current Blizzard employee. “She’s run a diversity-focused company that touts good values.”

The employee added, “Also, politically speaking, she’s the perfect person to help the stock prices. [Brack] was named in the lawsuit, the stock is down. … People want change, and Activision wants their money. The company isn’t that stupid.”

From an anonymous Twitter account, Blizzard employees tweeted out that they looked forward to working with the new leadership to address concerns, writing, “No one person is responsible for the culture of Blizzard; the problems at ABK go beyond Blizzard and require systemic change.”

Another longtime Blizzard employee noted that the problems that led Brack to step down were present before he became president.

“I think [Brack] knew it was the right thing to do,” the employee said. “While he’s a person who dedicated his time and energy to this company — there was a lot of bad he inherited and had to fight against — and there is some accountability that lands on him too.”

Activision Blizzard’s leadership came under fire in the wake of the lawsuit, both for the allegations it contained as well as the response to their own employees, which even chief executive Bobby Kotick called “tone deaf.” Activision Blizzard employees responded with a call for major changes from the company in an open letter and later staged a walkout on July 28.

Shannon Liao contributed to this report.

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