Activision Blizzard chief compliance officer Frances Townsend, who was previously criticized for her actions following news of the company’s sexual harassment lawsuit, has stepped down from her role at the company and will now serve as an advisor to the board and CEO Bobby Kotick.
As reported by Bloomberg, Townsend opted to step down ahead of the $68.7 billion deal that, if completed, would see Microsoft acquire Activision Blizzard and its many iconic franchises, including Call of Duty, Warcraft, Overwatch, Diablo and more.
As previously reported, Townsend was criticized by Activision Blizzard employees and others for her actions following the public announcement of the lawsuit filed against Activision Blizzard regarding allegations of a “frat boy culture” and sexual harassment.
After news of the lawsuit broke, Townsend called the allegations “distorted” and “false.” While she said her statement was made “after legal counsel’s guidance on the language and that the end result no longer sounded much like her voice,” she would tweet a link to an article titled “The Problem With Whistleblowing” in her personal social Following these events, Townsend resigned as executive sponsor of the ABK Women’s Network.
Prior to her decision to leave, Townsend also served as executive vice president of corporate affairs for two years.
“Fran has done a truly outstanding job—four jobs, in fact—with ever-increasing responsibilities and the most exemplary work ethic,” Kotick wrote in an email shared with Bloomberg News. “Fran has also done a great job strengthening the strong governance and compliance programs we have across the Company.”
Activision Blizzard Lawsuit Timeline: The Story So Far
Jen Brewer, Activision Blizzard’s senior vice president of ethics and compliance, will assume Townsend’s role along with Luci Altman, senior vice president of corporate governance.
Prior to Activision Blizzard, Townsend was White House Counterterrorism Advisor to US President George W. Bush and General Counsel of MacAndrews & Forbes.
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Adam Bankhurst is a news writer for IGN. You can follow him on Twitter @AdamBankhurst and up Drawing.