Activision-Blizzard: Frances Townsend steps down from one studio post, Jeff Kurtenacker departs

Activision Blizzard’s chief operating officer, Frances Townsend, will step down from her post at Blizzard Entertainment after almost eight years at the company. Townsend joined Activision back in 2010 after serving as a national security advisor for former-President George W. Bush from 2001 to 2009. She was named chief operating officer of Blizzard Entertainment in 2012 after leaving her position as a senior advisor to President Obama.

Last week, Activision Blizzard announced that its president, Frances Townsend, would be transitioning out of her role as Activision Blizzard’s chief executive and president, and returning to the role of executive vice president and chief operating officer, effective immediately. According to Activision Blizzard’s statement, the transition was approved by the board of directors at the first meeting of its newly-selected board of directors following the 2017 annual meeting of stockholders. The executive vice president role will be filled by Activision Blizzard’s chief operating officer, Teledyne Technologies chairman and chief executive officer Jeffrey G. Kurtenacker, effective immediately.

It was reported this week that Activision Blizzard CFO Jeff Kurtenacker has left the company, according to a source close to the company. He was a high-ranking financial executive at the company, and most recently was overseeing the company’s international operations. He was reportedly leaving the company to “pursue a new opportunity.” He has been with the company since 2012.. Read more about blizzard activision and let us know what you think.


It’s a “y” day, which means there’s been another development in the continuing Blizzard sexual harassment and discrimination controversy. This time, the issue centers on Frances Townsend, the company’s head of corporate affairs, who, as readers will remember, sent out a stunningly aggressive internal missive that garnered an employee letter of criticism. Townsend is no longer the executive sponsor of the ABK Women’s Network, which is an organization for female workers at the business, according to IGN.

Townsend stated in a statement that she “believes in doing what’s best for the Network” and that she “will continue to support and promote the Network’s work as best she can.” While her dismissal from the ABK Women’s Network has been verified, it’s essential to note that she has not left ActiBlizz and is still working there.

Townsend’s departure from the network comes after she denounced the California lawsuit, and by extension the claims of the company’s whistleblowers and victims, in a leaked internal memo that sounded eerily similar to Blizzard’s initial response to the lawsuit, which dismissed the claims as outdated and unprovable. And, according to Activision, she sparked Twitter drama last week when she subtweeted an article demonizing whistleblowing, which sparked backlash from employees on the platform, prompting her to block Blizzard employees and journalists, and then delete her own Twitter account – all on her own volition.

More than 3,000 current ABK workers signed an open letter last week, urging Fran Townsend to step down as sponsor of the ABK Women’s Network, among other things. We are grateful that she listened, and we hope that this will be followed by leadership responding to the rest of the workers’ requests.

August 7, 2021 — ABetterABK (@ABetterABK)

In other Blizzard news, renowned MMO composer Jeff Kurtenacker, who joined the company just last year and is well-known around here for his work on the WildStar soundtrack in particular, announced his resignation on Twitter — and it seems pretty sudden. “I’ve stepped down from my job at Blizzard Entertainment, and although I’m not sure what’s next for me, I’m excited to work on new projects with new people,” he writes.

Additional reading:

• Activision-Blizzard: Frances Townsend resigns from one of her studio posts, while Jeff Kurtenacker leaves the company • Activision-Blizzard sexism scandal day 17: More esports sponsors contemplate leaving Overwatch League • Activision-Blizzard sexism scandal day 18: More esports sponsors consider ditching Overwatch League Blizzard may live on, but it will never be Blizzard again, according to the patch notes. • Q2 2021: Activision sales are up, Blizzard MAUs are down amid sexism controversy • Activision-Blizzard Day 14: Brack and Meschuk departures, fraud lawsuit, proto-union, and Q2 financials By not working at Blizzard, the gamer in the notorious BlizzCon video claims she “dodged a bullet.” J. Allen Brack, the CEO of Blizzard, is stepping down ahead of today’s investor call. Jeff Strain, a former co-founder of ArenaNet, has called for gaming developers to form a union. • Has Blizzard’s sexism lawsuit altered your gaming plans? • Massively Overthinking: Has Blizzard’s sexism lawsuit changed your gaming plans? • The WoW Factor: What makes this new Blizzard controversy stand out? • Activision-Blizzard walkout organizers respond to Kotick, Kotaku exposes ‘Cosby suite’ attendees • Activision-Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick: ‘The leadership team has heard you loud and clear’ • Blizzard’s sexism controversy continues, with 2500 developers signing a petition criticizing Acti-reaction Blizzard’s • Casually Classic: Making the Decision to Quit WoW or Not MMO Week in Review: The Blizzard You Thought You Knew Has Passed Away • Blizzard’s culture of “abuse, inequity, and apathy” has been apologized for by Chris Metzen. ‘I am very sorry that I failed you,’ Mike Morhaime says to female Blizzard employees. The World of Warcraft Factor: No monarch can reign forever Activision pushes down on deflection as J Allen Brack confronts Blizzard employees over sexism controversy Furious World of Warcraft gamers conduct a protest against Activision Blizzard • California has filed a lawsuit against Activision-Blizzard for discrimination and a misogynistic, poisonous workplace atmosphere.


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Greg Baskerville
Greg Baskerville
Gaming Blogger & Musician. Playing games since the Amiga days in the 1980's, and a handy guitarist.

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