Following the departure of Mike Ybarra, Blizzard has announced its new president: Activision’s former general manager of its Call of Duty franchise, Johanna Faries.
Faries’ new position was announced last night, following layoffs at Microsoft last week. Her appointment marks the first new leader of the studio since Microsoft finally purchased Activision Blizzard for $69 billion in October, following almost two years of regulatory approvals and legal wrangling. Her official first day will be next month, on 5th February.
In an email sent to Blizzard staff, Faries acknowledged that her new role at Blizzard may stir up a «range of reactions, questions and even concerns». The new president noted Activision, Blizzard and indeed King are all «decidedly different companies with distinct games, cultures and communities», despite being under one umbrella.
«It is important to note that Call of Duty’s way of waking up in the morning to deliver for players can often differ from the stunning games in Blizzard’s realm: each with different gameplay experiences, communities that surround them, and requisite models of success,» Faries wrote.
«I’ve discussed this with the Blizzard leadership team and I’m walking into this role with sensitivity to those dynamics, and deep respect for Blizzard, as we begin to explore taking our universes to even higher heights.»
Faries said she was «committed» to ensuring Blizzard thrives, and will be approaching her new role with «care and consideration» for its staff and games.
Head of Xbox game studios at Microsoft Matt Booty welcomed Faries to her new role in an email to staff, saying he was «excited» to be partnering with her.
Call of Duty’s current VP of product management Matt Cox will now replace Faries as the franchise’s leader.