Jen Oneal, who has served as co-lead of embattled World of Warcraft house Blizzard Entertainment since this summer, will be leaving the company at the end of this year, she said in a statement on Blizzard’s website.
The past several months have been a tumultuous time to take the reins at Blizzard. Oneal’s departure comes as Activision Blizzard continues to wade through a lawsuit that alleged Blizzard Entertainment of a toxic “frat house” culture.
Oneal’s appointment as co-lead followed the departure of former Blizzard president J. Allen Brack, who left following explosive allegations against the studio for harboring a toxic, sexist culture. Oneal was appointed co-lead of the studio with Mike Ybarra, as the company signaled a need for “new direction and leadership.”
Oneal was previously EVP of development and EVP and GM of platform and technology. Ybarra will remain at Blizzard as the solo head of the company.
“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,” she wrote in today’s post.
“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,” she said.
Oneal said ABK (Activision Blizzard/King) leadership supports her decision and is working with her in giving a $1 million grant to Women in Games International, a non-profit well-known in the games industry for supporting the advancement of women in game development.
Oneal is a WIGI board member. She said she’ll be transferring her responsibilities to Ybarra and working with Activision Blizzard on the WIGI investment before she departs.
“Mike and I have been working together to develop many of the actions we’ll be taking to continue making Blizzard a safer, stronger, and more inclusive workplace, and I know he plans on sharing some of those actions with you soon,” she said.