While Townsend is stepping down, she will act as a senior adviser to the company’s board and chief executive, Bobby Kotick.
Townsend, who previously served as the assistant for homeland security and counterterrorism to President George W. Bush, had been executive vice president for corporate affairs and chief compliance officer at Activision Blizzard since March 2021.
In her role she oversaw Activision Blizzard communications, among other corporate functions.
However, Townsend found herself under fire in response to the DEFH lawsuit against Activision Blizzard which accused the company of failing to properly address reports of harassment and discrimination.
First, she reportedly sent a company-wide email calling it “a truly meritless and irresponsible lawsuit” which “presented a distorted and untrue picture of our company, including factually incorrect, old, and out of context stories”.
Her comments, which formed part of Activision Blizzard’s combative response to the lawsuit, contributed to employees staging a walkout in protest of working conditions at the company and a loss of faith in its leadership.
Later, Townsend drew significant criticism for using her Twitter account to tweet “the problem with whistleblowing” in a message linking to an Atlantic article on the subject.
After being flooded with responses, Townsend reportedly started blocking Activision Blizzard employees on Twitter and later deleted her account.