Activision Blizzard on Tuesday announced the promotion of Jen Brewer to the role of senior vice president, ethics and compliance amid a series of other measures the embattled company is taking to enhance its culture.
The video game developer’s chief compliance officer, Frances Townsend, made the announcement in an email to employees. Activision Blizzard has been cleaning house over the last several months following a rash of sexual harassment and discrimination allegations.
In announcing the promotion of Brewer, Townsend said, “Jen has already been skillfully guiding the compliance function for many years. More importantly, she has been instrumental in helping me to reimagine how our investigative, training, and employee relations functions can work better together, along with the resources those teams will need to make our company better.”
Brewer had been vice president, compliance and chief risk officer at Activision Blizzard since July 2012, according to her LinkedIn profile.
Townsend further highlighted the company’s progress with its broader compliance, employee relations, and investigative procedures toward building “a more accountable workplace and culture.”
Those measures include:
Ongoing investigations: “In recent months, we have received an increase in reports through various reporting channels,” Townsend said. “People are bringing to light concerns, ranging from years ago to the present.”
In response, the company has been using a combination of internal and external resources to prioritize the most serious reports first, Townsend said. “In connection with various resolved reports, more than 20 individuals have exited Activision Blizzard, and more than 20 individuals faced other types of disciplinary action,” she said.
Investigation team resources: In the past couple of months, Activision Blizzard added three full-time positions to examine allegations.
“Moving forward, we plan to scale this significantly, adding 19 full-time roles to our overall ethics and compliance team, which includes team members dedicated to investigations—including the ability to take live calls, as well as data analytics and communications—to help us understand how we’re doing and help us better convey results of our work,” Townsend said. “Two of those roles will be specifically dedicated to overseeing investigations related to the EMEA and APAC regions.”
Investigation team structure: Activision Blizzard will combine its investigations groups into one centralized unit within a central ethics and compliance department. It will be separate from business units and other groups like human resources or employee relations.
“This will allow investigators to be more efficient and coordinated, aligned on approach, and enable consistent decision making,” Townsend said. “It also allows us to scale resources more appropriately versus considering how to allocate team members across disparate units.”
Employee relations team: In collaboration with Chief People Officer Julie Hodges, the company will focus on how to best communicate with team members.
“This will allow us to better bridge our improved investigative process to a recommended action, whether it’s discipline, additional training, or other next steps,” Townsend said. “Our goal is to broaden our team of individuals with considerable human resources experience, ensuring we handle complaints and concerns with the care and attention they deserve.”
Transparency: Townsend said Activision Blizzard is working toward improving its documentation of investigative procedures.
“We are also working to ensure communications are transparent and time sensitive for any members of our team involved in investigations,” she said. “Even more, we want to provide data reporting so we remain accountable, even if we can’t always share what is happening behind the scenes.”
Improved training: Activision Blizzard is “preparing to triple our investment in training resources,” Townsend explained. “Our intent is to deliver meaningful, real-life, scenario-based live and online training required for all members of our team, including executives—covering bystander training, speaking up, and training managers to recognize concerns and understand their obligations to escalate situations urgently and appropriately.”
Concluded Townsend, “We are committed to making meaningful and positive change, and this is just the start. We will be sharing additional updates in the coming weeks and months. We know there is always more work to do. We are committed to continuing that work.”