Mike Ybarra will be taking over sole leadership of Blizzard
One of Blizzard’s leaders has announced they’re stepping away from the company. Today, Jen Oneal announced she’ll be leaving the company at the end of the year, with her co-leader Mike Ybarra taking over Oneal’s responsibilities.
Oneal and Ybarra were announced as the new co-leaders of Blizzard Entertainment following the departure of J. Allen Brack, which came after the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing sued Activision Blizzard over reports of discrimination and a toxic workplace culture.
Oneal’s career ran back over 20 years across Activision, Vicarious Visions, and then Blizzard. According to an Activision Blizzard statement, she will be taking time to find new opportunities that bring her two passions closer together: game development and diversity, equity, and inclusion.
“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,” Oneal wrote in a goodbye letter (via GamesBeat). “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.”
Activision Blizzard has also said it will be making a $1 million grant to Women in Games International in her honor. Oneal will leave at the end of the year, spending her remaining time transitioning into a new role building up programs that could be funded by the grant. Ybarra, meanwhile, will assume Oneal’s current responsibilities at Blizzard.
Activision Blizzard recently outlined changes coming to the company in response to the investigations, including an end to required arbitration. The ABK Workers Alliance characterized it as a “huge win,” but also said there’s more to be done. Employees had previously signed letters and organized a walkout, calling for change at the company.
As part of today’s Activision Blizzard earnings update, the company also confirmed that Diablo IV and Overwatch 2 would be coming later than expected. This follows after both the Diablo and Overwatch teams saw turnover at the top.