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Activision Blizzard hired a couple of executives today including a former Disney human resource executive as its chief people officer. That hire comes after the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing sued the company for widespread sex discrimination in August.
Julie Hodges, formerly Disney’s senior vice president of HR, will become Activision Blizzard’s chief people officer on September 21. In addition, former Delta Airlines senior vice president Sandeep Dube will become chief commercial officer on September 27. That’s an interesting combination for a company that creates video games such as Call of Duty, Overwatch, and World of Warcraft.
Activision Blizzard says Hodges brings more than three decades of HR experience in entertainment and a background in shaping corporate culture. She will be responsible for the company’s global talent organization which recruits new hires. In her role, she will lead all aspects of human resources, including diversity, equity and inclusion, talent acquisition, employee experience, learning and development, compensation and benefits and workforce planning.
Many of these matters are under investigation by the state agency, which accused the company of having a “frat boy culture” in its lawsuit. The company has fired numerous executives in the wake of its own probe into the sexual discrimination allegations. One of the executives who resigned abruptly was J. Allen Brack, the president of the company’s Blizzard Entertainment division.
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The Communications Workers of America union filed an unfair labor practices complaint today against the company. It accused the company of worker intimidation and union-busting. Company workers staged a groundbreaking walkout over the summer to draw attention to the disturbing working conditions in the gaming industry at large including, but not limited to, ableist, racist, and sexist cultural practices, workplace discrimination, and pay inequity, the union noted.
The union said that, instead of responding to these demands, Activision Blizzard management is using coercive tactics, such as hiring an anti-union law firm, to attempt to prevent its employees from exercising their rights to stand together and demand a more equitable, sustainable, and diverse workplace.
Dube is taking the role that was empty since Armin Zerza, former chief commercial officer, became chief financial officer in March. Hodges is taking the role of Claudine Naughton, who will be leaving the company.
Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick is no doubt aware that this hire in human resources could be one of the most important roles at the company as it tries to project an image of being a great place to work in the wake of the state lawsuit.
Dube will oversee Activision’s global sales and go-to-market teams. He will be responsible for developing and implementing commercial strategy and delivering on the company’s revenue growth plan.
Before joining Activision Blizzard, Dube led revenue management, product strategy, and commercial delivery at Delta. Notably, he played a key role in building the company’s loyalty program and steering the airline through the volatile demand environment created by the pandemic.
Prior to Delta, Sandeep worked for more than a decade in the banking industry as a commercial and marketing leader, driving revenue growth for consumer-lending businesses.
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