In a earlier everyday living, Frances Townsend defended the legal foundation for the torture technique termed waterboarding through George W. Bush’s war on terror. In a more current just one, she assisted lead Activision Blizzard’s at first tone-deaf response to a main sexual harassment lawsuit by the point out of California. Now she’s stepping down as the Contact of Duty publisher’s main compliance officer immediately after fewer than two decades in the placement.
CEO Bobby Kotick announced the transfer to team in an e-mail on Thursday, The Wall Avenue Journal reviews. Even with stepping down from the posture, Townsend will however remain an official advisor to Kotick and to Activision Blizzard’s Board of Administrators, above which Kotick presides. This change in the company’s governing structure comes as Microsoft tries to persuade regulators to permit it invest in the publisher of Overwatch 2 and Diablo IV for $69 billion by June 2023.
“She tirelessly and effectively navigated a demanding time for the Business with leadership, conviction, and grace,” Kotick wrote in the e mail, in accordance to The Wall Road Journal. (Past November, over 1,000 workers signed a letter contacting on him to resign.)
Other people could possibly disagree. Introduced on board to aid Activision Blizzard navigate sophisticated world-wide regulations, the previous Bush adviser ended up currently being 1 of the faces of the company’s reckoning with allegations of sexual discrimination and harassment. Townsend became the messenger for the company’s incredibly severe rebuttal to a California lawsuit alleging pay back discrimination, a “frat boy” office lifestyle, and other concerns.
“A recently filed lawsuit presented a distorted and untrue image of our company, like factually incorrect, old and out of context stories—some from additional than a 10 years in the past,” read through an e mail from her operate account largely defending the company and denying any legitimacy to the promises. It provoked a walkout from hundreds of staff members throughout Activision Blizzard the next 7 days, and Townsend even begun blocking some of them on Twitter soon after they criticized her for tweeting an anti-whistleblower post from The Atlantic. Inevitably, she nuked her Twitter account completely. Having said that, The Wall Avenue Journal later on documented that the initial e mail from Townsend’s account waiving off the California lawsuit was in fact drafted by Kotick.
Activision Blizzard later altered its tune, announcing a number of new policies to try and deal with office concerns and an $18 million settlement with the Equal Work Possibility Fee. The ABK Worker Alliance team that grew out of the initial allegations carries on to press for much more reforms and say in how the guidelines are designed and executed.
Townsend could not promptly be achieved, and Activision Blizzard did not promptly respond to a ask for for remark.