Blizzard has announced that its co-leader Jen Oneal is stepping down from the role just three months after being assigned.
The former Vicarious Visions boss, who was announced as Blizzard’s co-leader alongside former Xbox exec Mike Ybarra in August, is said to be leaving the company to focus on bringing more diversity to the games industry.
Oneal was announced as Blizzard’s co-leader after the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing sued Activision Blizzard for discrimination and harassment, replacing the outgoing J. Allen Brack.
The exec is a 20-year-veteran of Activision and the company said on Tuesday (via GamesBeat) that it would donate $1 million to Women in Games International in her honour. Oneal is a board member of the organization.
“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 her goodbye letter to employees.
“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 CEO Bobby Kotick commented via GamesBeat’s Dean Takahashi: “I had a lot of confidence, and still do, in Jen’s ability to lead. I think she really wants to go and transform the industry.
“Her mission in life is making great games and transforming the industry so that gaming, as more women enter the workforce, is more inviting and welcoming to women. It will be a great opportunity for us to partner with her as she leads the charge.”
Mike Ybarra, who was employed at Microsoft for 20 years and was corporate vice president of gaming in its Xbox department, will lead Blizzard as its sole leader from the end of the year.