Blizzard co-lead Jen Oneal will leave the company by the end of the year.
Activision Blizzard confirmed Oneal's upcoming departure in its latest earnings call. Oneal was appointed Blizzard co-lead alongside Mike Ybarra back in August, following the departure of president J. Allen Brack amidst the ongoing Activision Blizzard lawsuit.
"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 said in a letter confirming that she has stepped down from her lead role as of today. "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."
Oneal was previously executive vice president of development at Vicarious Visions, a support studio which Activision officially absorbed this year. She's also a board member for Women In Games International, a nonprofit working to further diversity and economic equality in the games industry. In Oneal's honor, Activision is creating a $1 million grant to support WIGI's cause, with Oneal sticking around this year to help oversee how it's allocated.
"I wanted to tell the Blizzard community this personally because I want you to know I believe so strongly in Mike and the rest of Blizzard’s leadership both in terms of Blizzard’s culture and Blizzard’s games," Oneal adds. "Blizzard’s best days are ahead. I truly believe that. I also am hoping this letter helps you to think about what you can do to make everyone around you – no matter their gender, race, or identity – feel welcome, comfortable, and free to be themselves."
Blizzard has shed several top executives and designers in the past few months, including Diablo 4 director Luis Barriga, and claims more than 20 people "exited" the company following internal investigations, with more than another 20 facing disciplinary action.
Overwatch 2 and Diablo 4 have been delayed out of 2022.