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Johanna Faries, Call of Duty alum, is Blizzard Entertainment's new president

Faries will take over as Blizzard president in early February, and succeeds studio veteran Mike Ybarra.

Justin Carter, Contributing Editor

January 29, 2024

1 Min Read
Call of Duty GM Johanna Faries at TechCrunch Disrupt 2022.
Image via Flickr.

At a Glance

  • Having jumped from Call of Duty to Blizzard, Faries said she's coming into the new position with "deep respect for Blizzard."

Starting February 5, Blizzard Entertainment will have a new leader in Johanna Faries. She first joined Activision Blizzard in 2018 as a commissioner for Call of Duty's esports division.

As spotted by Bloomberg, she's been tapped as president of the Overwatch and Diablo developer. Mike Ybarra, the studio's previous president, departed last week amid larger Microsoft reductions.

Notably, she's also the first Blizzard president to have an esports background. Previous leaders like Ybarra and J. Allen Brack came from Xbox Studios or within Blizzard after a long tenure.

By 2021, Faries served as the Call of Duty franchise's general manager. Prior to games, she worked in the NFL for nearly 12 years, and served as its VP for club business development.

Bloomberg notes her hiring comes after Blizzard had "significant tensions" with its parent company. Much of this concerned ex-CEO Bobby Kotick, who allegedly wanted Blizzard to operate similar to the annual shooter franchise.

For her part, Faries reportedly addressed that in her memo to Blizzard staff. In it, she acknowledged how it, Activision, are all "decidedly different companies" with their own methods.

And having talked with Blizzard leadership, she stressed she was "walking into this role with sensitivity to those dynamics, and deep respect for Blizzard."

Faries' arrival comes as Blizzard is still reeling from both its layoffs and the cancellation of its MMO project Odyssey. It was reportedly in development since 2017, and gutted due to issues with its engine.

About the Author(s)

Justin Carter

Contributing Editor, GameDeveloper.com

A Kansas City, MO native, Justin Carter has written for numerous sites including IGN, Polygon, and SyFy Wire. In addition to Game Developer, his writing can be found at io9 over on Gizmodo. Don't ask him about how much gum he's had, because the answer will be more than he's willing to admit.

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