A new statement from Activision Blizzard Entertainment has revealed that company president J. Allen Brack is "leaving the company to pursue new opportunities."
The announcement came early on Tuesday, Aug. 3, via a short letter by Daniel Alegre, Chief Operating Officer, published on Activision Blizzard's newsroom webpage. In his letter, Alegre notes that "effective immediately" former Vicarious Visions head, Jen Oneal, and Mike Ybarra, Executive Vice President and General Manager overseeing Battle.net, will be replacing Brack as "co-leaders of Blizzard."
"Jen and Mike will share responsibility for development and operational accountability for the company," he explained.
Blizzard President Leaves Company "to Pursue New Opportunities," Says COO
Alegre called both individuals "leaders of great character and integrity."
Oneal is an 18-year industry veteran and was the former head of the Vicarious Visions studio, which has now been absorbed under Blizzard. The studio was best known for its work on various Spider-Man titles, as well as Tony Hawk Pro-Skater. She joined Blizzard in January as the Executive Vice President of Development at Blizzard overseeing the development of two of the company's biggest IPs, Diablo and Overwatch.
Ybarra has been a part of the technology and gaming world for over two decades—spending 7 years at Microsoft as a senior executive under its Xbox division. He will be moving to the co-leadership position from his role as the Executive Vice President & General Manager of Platform and Technology responsible for Blizzard's Battle.net platform.
"Both are...deeply committed to ensuring our workplace is the most inspired, welcoming environment for creative excellence and to upholding our highest game development standards." He wrote.
In a companion statement posted on Blizzard's exclusive news page, Brack expressed he had full confidence that the two would "provide the leadership Blizzard needs to realize its full potential and will accelerate the pace of change."
The post went on to echo the pair's commitment "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."
"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," it read.
It did not mention the direct reason for Brack's departure, nor did it note whether he resigned or was removed—only that he was "stepping down."
Sources speculate that the abrupt change in leadership at the publisher could be due to Brack's mention in the active sexual harassment and discrimination lawsuit being brought by the Calif. Department of Fair Employment and Housing.
DBLTAP cannot confirm the veracity of this rumor.
Fans will likely receive a letter from both Oneal and Ybarra about the transition later this week. Blizzard thanked its fans "for your passion and determination for safety and equality for all."