Blizzard’s First Female Leader Steps Down Only 3 Months After Taking the Job
Blizzard’s former President, J. Allen Brack, stepped down this August and was later replaced by Mike Ybarra and Jen Oneal. Brack decided to leave in the wake of a lawsuit that was filed by California’s Department of Fair Employment and Housing, following allegations of widespread discrimination and sexual harassment within the company.
Oneal took over as a co-head of the studio, marking the very first time that Blizzard has been under the leadership of a woman. However, only three months later, she has made an official announcement that she will be leaving Blizzard leadership at the end of the year.
“Effective immediately, Mike Ybarra will lead Blizzard,” Oneal said in her statement. “I want you to hear from me personally that I have made the decision to step away from co-leading Blizzard Entertainment and will transition to a new position before departing ABK at the end of the year.”
“This is a sad moment for many of us at ABK, who were excited to have a new experience with a woman of color heading our company,” the ABK Alliance wrote on social media. “We wish Jen well in her future endeavors.”
Despite what the gaming community might think, Oneal is not leaving Blizzard leadership with a bitter taste in her mouth. “I am doing this not because I am without hope for Blizzard—quite the opposite,” she said. “I am inspired by the passion of everyone here, working towards meaningful, lasting change with their whole hearts.”
Apparently, the energy from the people in Blizzard that she had observed during her 3-mont tenure as co-head “inspired” her to venture out. “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 as well,” she added. “While I am not totally sure what form that will take, I am excited to embark on a new journey to find out.”
What do you think of Jen Oneal’s decision to step down as Blizzard’s co-head? Let us know in the comments below.