Controversial Activision CCO to step down ahead of Microsoft takeover

Controversial Activision CCO to step down ahead of Microsoft takeover – Video Games Chronicle

Frances Townsend, Activision Blizzard’s chief compliance officer, has resigned from her role at the company, an email from Bobby Kotick revealed.

Bloomberg reports that Townsend has decided to step down ahead of Microsoft’s proposed nearly $70 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard.

While Townsend is stepping down, she will serve as senior advisor to the company’s board of directors and chief executive officer, Bobby Kotick.

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Townsend, who previously served as Assistant to President George W. Bush for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism, has served as executive vice president for corporate affairs and chief compliance officer at Activision Blizzard since March 2021.

In her role, she led communications for Activision Blizzard, among other corporate functions.

However, Townsend has come under fire in response to the DEFH lawsuit against Activision Blizzard, which accused the company of failing to properly address reports of harassment and discrimination.

First, she reportedly sent a company-wide email calling it “a truly baseless and irresponsible lawsuit” that presented “a distorted and untrue picture of our company, including factually incorrect, old and out of context stories.”

Her comments, part of Activision Blizzard’s militant response to the lawsuit, helped prompt employees to go on strike in protest at the company’s working conditions and loss of confidence in its leadership.

Townsend later drew significant criticism for using her Twitter account to tweet “the problem with whistleblowing” in a message that linked to an Atlantic article on the subject.

After being inundated with replies, Townsend reportedly began blocking Activision Blizzard employees on Twitter and later her account deleted.