On August 3, Blizzard Entertainment announced that J. Allen Brack is stepping down as the leader of the studio. After his departure, Jen Oneal and Mike Ybarra will co-lead the company. They will share responsibilities over game development and company operations.
Oneal joined Blizzard in January as executive vice president of development, where she’s been providing senior development leadership and support to the Diablo and Overwatch franchises. She is the former head of Vicarious Visions (which is now part of Blizzard Entertainment).
Ybarra joined the company in 2019 as the executive vice president and general manager of platform and technology, where he’s been overseeing the evolution of Battle.net and our development services organization. Before Blizzard, Ybarra spent nearly 20 years at Xbox as corporate vice president of Xbox Live, Xbox Game Pass and Microsoft’s Mixer streaming platform.
“I am confident that Jen Oneal and Mike Ybarra will provide the leadership Blizzard needs to realize its full potential and will accelerate the pace of change,” Brack said. “I anticipate they will do so with passion and enthusiasm and that they can be trusted to lead with the highest levels of integrity and commitment to the components of our culture that make Blizzard so special.”
Brack did not immediately comment on his departure, but as its timing suggests, it’s happening in response to the ongoing harassment scandal at Blizzard. This is also likely to be mentioned during the company’s earnings call today to placate Activision Blizzard investors.
Bloomberg’s Jason Schreier offered his interpretation of what Brack’s departure entails: “Titles mean a lot in the corporate world. Until 2018, Mike Morhaime was CEO. When Brack took over, he was president. Now, Oneal and Ybarra are described as “co-leaders.” A clear glimpse at who’s really in charge: Bobby Kotick.”
Brack joined Blizzard in January 2006 and held multiple leadership roles prior to being named president in October 2018.