Blizzard’s First Female Studio Co-Head Leaves After Three Months
Jean Oneal has left Blizzard three months after assuming a co-head position, leaving Mike Ybarra the sole head of the studio come the end of the year. Oneal confirmed the news today following an investor’s call earlier this afternoon. Until then, she will work in an unspecified role at Activision Blizzard.
Oneal and Ybarra were revealed to be the new co-heads of Blizzard after the departure of J. Allen Brack, the studio head caught in the middle of several lawsuits including one from the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing, indicating fratboy culture, discrimination, and toxicity.
During the investor call earlier today, staff were made aware of Oneal’s departure.
“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,” said the ABK Twitter account “We found out during our Shareholder meeting–and wish Jen well in her future endeavours.”
“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. “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.”
With ABK, a $1 million grant will be given to Women in Games International — a non-profit organization where Oneal is also a board member.
Last week, Activision announced it was waiving required arbitration, a move that the ABK Workers Alliance said was s a “huge win,” but that was only the beginning of the work that needed to be done.