Blizzard Entertainment has announced that it has appointed former Call of Duty general manager Johanna Faries as its new president, following the recent departure of Mike Ybarra. Johana Faries has been with the Activision Blizzard for over five years and has served as the Call of Duty general manager since 2021. Microsoft recently announced that it is laying off 1,900 employees at Activision Blizzard and Xbox. Activision Blizzard will be impacted the most by the layoffs with the rest affecting Xbox and Zenimax. Additionally, Blizzard president Mike Ybarra announced that he is leaving the company after more than twenty years in the company along with Blizzard chief design officer Allen Adham.
The full statement regarding the appointment from Faries in a company wide email can be seen below:
Though my official first day with you all is February 5, I want to let you know immediately that it is an honor to join you next week in this new capacity. I do so humbly and in awe of all that Blizzard has stood for and delivered to the world for over thirty years. Today also brings some mixed emotions. The loss of talented teammates in recent days is hard to hold side-by-side with the immense excitement I feel about joining Blizzard—and building on the momentum you’ve created for Blizzard’s next chapter.
I want to thank Matt for the introduction, bring some further clarity to today’s announcement, and share more about how I see our future together at Blizzard. I understand this is a lot to take in. The news of my appointment may no doubt bring up a range of reactions, questions, even concerns.
Activision, Blizzard, and King are decidedly different companies with distinct games, cultures, and communities. It is important to note that Call of Duty’s way of waking up in the morning to deliver for players can often differ from the stunning games in Blizzard’s realm: each with different gameplay experiences, communities that surround them, and requisite models of success. I’ve discussed this with the Blizzard leadership team and I’m walking into this role with sensitivity to those dynamics, and deep respect for Blizzard, as we begin to explore taking our universes to even higher heights.
I am committed to doing everything I can to help Blizzard thrive, with care and consideration for you and for our games, each unique and special in their own right. I’m optimistic about our ability to serve our current and future player communities, and to further amplify the shared passion for greatness, polish, and creative mastery that is a hallmark of Blizzard’s approach to game-making.
Next week, I will be in Irvine and I am eager to connect with as many of you as possible. I will be scheduling informal (and totally optional) meet-and-greets, where I want to hear more from people across the organization. Those of you who cannot make it to those gatherings or aren’t located in Irvine, please feel free to email me. We are also planning a town hall meeting to be held in the near future.
A few personal facts about me: my #1 job in life is raising two amazing boys. In addition to parenthood, a typical week for me includes finding time for daily yoga and prayer, and of course, playing video games (big Diablo IV fan over here!). Throughout, the joy I find in games – and working with those who make them—only deepens.
I remain inspired by Blizzard’s iconic legacy, and the transformative role gaming has played in my life and in the lives of others. I cannot wait to get going—to listen, to learn, to empower, and to collaborate with all of you on our bold and bright future together. Together, may we forge many legendary days ahead.