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Townsend's departure from Activision Blizzard comes over a year after blaming California's lawsuit for contributing to the damage of the company's culture, rather than its allegations of harassment.

Justin Carter, Contributing Editor

October 3, 2022

1 Min Read
Former Activision Blizzard chief compliance officer Fran Townsend in a video interview with CBS.
Image from 2021 CBS News interview.

Frances Townsend departed Activision Blizzard over the weekend, reported Bloomberg. Townsend served as the publisher's chief compliance officer, and her leaving comes as Microsoft is in the process of acquiring the Call of Duty publisher. 

Townsend's tenure with Activision Blizzard has been controversial since she took the role in 2020. Following a lawsuit in 2021 from the State of California accusing the company of fostering a toxic environment for years, she sent out a companywide internal email calling it "truly meritless and irresponsible...We cannot let it damage our culture of respect and equal opportunity for all employees.”

Shortly after, over 1,000 current and former Activision Blizzard employees condemned her response. In their list of demands, those employees called for Townsend to resign from her position as the company's Executive Sponsor of the ABK Employee Women’s Network. 

Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick later apologized for Townsend's email, writing that it "lacked the right empathy and understanding".

In an email sent to Bloomberg, Bobby Kotick wrote that Townsend "has done an extraordinary job enhancing the strong governance and compliance programs we have throughout the Company.”

Townsend will be replaced by senior ethics VP Jen Brewer and senior VP of corporate governance Luci Altman. She will operate as an advisor to both the board and Kotick specifically. 

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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