Blizzard Entertainment’s chief legal officer, Claire Hart, has resigned from the embattled company. She announced the news in a LinkedIn post yesterday, saying that last Friday, September 17, was her final day.
Hart, who had been in the role for three years—and who previously clocked a decade at Google, according to LinkedIn—did not cite a reason for her resignation, saying only that, “The past three years have been full of unexpected twists and turns, but I feel honored to have worked with and met so many great people at Blizzard and across the Activision Blizzard businesses.”
Outside of a “short break,” Hart did not mention what’s next in the pipeline. Nor did she respond to a request for comment from Kotaku in time for publication.
It’s impossible to ignore the circumstances in which Blizzard has lost its top lawyer.
On July 20, the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) sued Activision Blizzard over several “violations of state’s civil rights and equal pay laws,” including widespread, harassment, discrimination, and abuse, especially against women at the company. Notably, the suit cites a so-called “Cosby Suite” at BlizzCon, a hotel room notorious for untoward behavior from some top men at the company at the time. More than 2,000 employees—many of whom later participated in a highly publicized walkout—sent a letter to the company condemning its horrendous behavior. More recently, those employees say Activision Blizzard isn’t meeting their demands.
Sponsors pulled support for the company’s esports. Activision Blizzard was hit with a second lawsuit (a class action) over the first. And yesterday, as first reported by The Wall Street Journal, news broke that the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has launched an extensive investigation into Activision Blizzard, even issuing a subpoena (basically, a court order that legally requires someone to testify) to longtime CEO Bobby Kotick.
Hart is the latest in a string of executive departures at Blizzard. Last month, Blizzard president J. Allen Brack stepped down. He was replaced by Jen Oneal and Mike Ybarra, both of whom are relatively new to the company and will occupy the top position at Blizzard jointly. Head of HR Jesse Meschuk left as well. And Jesse McCree, the director of Blizzard’s forthcoming Diablo 4, also left last month.
Update, 4:07 p.m. ET: “We can confirm that Claire Hart has left Blizzard to pursue other opportunities,” a representative for Activision Blizzard told Kotaku. “We’re grateful for her more than three years of service, and we wish her well.”