In a previous life, Frances Townsend defended the authorized foundation for the torture technique known as waterboarding throughout George W. Bush’s battle on terror. In a newer one, she helped lead Activision Blizzard’s initially tone-deaf response to a serious sexual harassment lawsuit by the state of California. Now she’s stepping down because the Name of Responsibility writer’s chief compliance officer after lower than two years within the place.
CEO Bobby Kotick introduced the transfer to employees in an e-mail on Thursday, The Wall Avenue Journal experiences. Regardless of stepping down from the place, Townsend will nonetheless stay an official advisor to Kotick and to Activision Blizzard’s Board of Administrators, over which Kotick presides. This shift within the firm’s governing construction comes as Microsoft tries to persuade regulators to let it purchase the writer of Overwatch 2 and Diablo IV for $69 billion by June 2023.
“She tirelessly and efficiently navigated a difficult time for the Firm with management, conviction, and style,” Kotick wrote within the e-mail, in line with The Wall Avenue Journal. (Final November, over 1,000 staff signed a letter calling on him to resign.)
Others may disagree. Introduced on board to assist Activision Blizzard navigate complicated world rules, the previous Bush adviser ended up being one of many faces of the corporate’s reckoning with allegations of sexual discrimination and harassment. Townsend turned the messenger for the corporate’s extraordinarily harsh rebuttal to a California lawsuit alleging pay discrimination, a “frat boy” office tradition, and different points.
“A just lately filed lawsuit introduced a distorted and unfaithful image of our firm, together with factually incorrect, previous and out of context tales—some from greater than a decade in the past,” read an email from her work account largely defending the corporate and denying any legitimacy to the claims. It provoked a walkout from a whole bunch of staff throughout Activision Blizzard the next week, and Townsend even began blocking a few of them on Twitter after they criticized her for tweeting an anti-whistleblower article from The Atlantic. Finally, she nuked her Twitter account totally. Nevertheless, The Wall Avenue Journal later reported that the unique e-mail from Townsend’s account waiving off the California lawsuit was truly drafted by Kotick.
Activision Blizzard later modified its tune, asserting a lot of new insurance policies to try to tackle office points and an $18 million settlement with the Equal Employment Alternative Fee. The ABK Employee Alliance group that grew out of the unique allegations continues to press for extra reforms and say in how the insurance policies are developed and applied.
Townsend couldn’t instantly be reached, and Activision Blizzard didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark.