Blizzard’s new VP will be tasked with fixing its workplace culture

Activision Blizzard is continuing a hiring spree in light of its ongoing harassment scandal. Blizzard has hired Jessica Martinez as its first Vice President of Culture. She’ll both implement and expand the game studio’s culture strategy, and lead a learning and development team that will help create a work environment where people feel “safe, valued” and eager to cooperate.

Martinez is a 14-year veteran of Disney, where she was a Chief of Staff and advised both the Chief Security Office and the parks’ Chief Technology & Digital Officer. She was known for building a diversity- and values-focused culture, according to Blizzard, and led efforts to harmonize security when Disney bought key Fox studios and channels.
The move comes just weeks after Activision Blizzard hired diversity chief Kristen Hines. It also follows months of employee shuffles and organizational efforts in the wake of the scandal. The publisher has ousted or disciplined numerous workers for participating in or tolerating a hostile work culture, including former Blizzard president J. Allen Brack. It also launched a “Workplace Responsibility Committee” to fight discrimination and harassment. 

Whether or not these measures will be enough still isn’t clear. Activision Blizzard chief Bobby Kotick has remained despite pressure to resign and a New York City lawsuit. The Communications Workers of America union, meanwhile, has filed a complaint with US labor officials accusing the company of silencing talk about harassment lawsuits. While Martinez may bring valuable cultural improvements, there’s still evidence the firm is resistant to some forms of change.

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