Activision CCO Who Denied Abuse Allegations Is Stepping Down

Frances Townsend, the controversial chief compliance officer that denied allegations of abuse at Activision Blizzard is stepping down from her role as the Microsoft acquisition comes closer to being finalized. Townsend is also the vice president of corporate affairs and will continue in an advisory role to the Activision Blizzard board and CEO Bobby Kotick, who for some reason still remains at the company.

“Fran did a truly exceptional job—actually four jobs—with continuously increasing responsibilities and the most exemplary work ethic,” Kotick wrote in an email that was shared with Bloomberg News. “Fran also has done an extraordinary job enhancing the strong governance and compliance programs we have throughout the Company.”

Townsend's role will be filled by senior vice president of ethics and compliance, Jen Brewer; along with senior vice president of corporate governance, Luci Altman.

In July last year, Townsend came under fire when an internal email to Activision Blizzard employees was made public. The wording of the email drew scrutiny, as it denied the allegations of abuse at the company after the state of California brought a lawsuit against it.

"A recently filed lawsuit presented a distorted and untrue picture of our company, including factually inaccurate, old, and out of context stories – some from more than a decade ago," said the email.

"We cannot let egregious actions of others, and a truly meritless and irresponsible lawsuit, damage our culture of respect and equal opportunity for all employees. We aspire in our company to do great things: in our games, in our impact on society, and in our work environment," it further added, drilling down that the lawsuit, hereby the allegations, were "meritless".

She later also shared an article on Twitter with the caption, "the problem with whistleblowing". This was interpreted as a dig at those who came forward with the allegations of abuse, and Townsend once again came under fire for it. Those who were publicly critical of her tweet were being blocked by her – many of them Activision Blizzard employees.

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