Activision Blizzard chief compliance officer Frances Townsend, who was previously criticized for her actions following the news of the company’s sexual harassment lawsuit, has stepped down from her role at the company and will now serve as an adviser to the board and to CEO Bobby Kotick.

As reported by Bloomberg, Townsend has chosen to step down prior to the $68.7 billion deal that, if it goes through, will see Microsoft acquire Activision Blizzard and its many iconic franchises, including Call of Duty, Warcraft, Overwatch, Diablo, and more.

Image Credit: Riccardo Savi/Getty Images for Concordia Summit

Image Credit: Riccardo Savi/Getty Images for Concordia Summit

As previously mentioned, Townsend was criticized by Activision Blizzard employees and others for her actions following the public announcement of the lawsuit filed against Activision Blizzard over allegations of a “frat boy culture” and sexual harassment.

After the news of the lawsuit broke, Townsend called the allegations “distorted” and “false.” While she said her statement was made “following “legal counsel’s guidance on language, and that the end result no longer sounded much like her voice,” she then would tweet a link to an article titled “The Problem With Whistleblowing” on her personal social media account. After these events, Townsend stepped down as an executive sponsor of the ABK Women’s Network.

Prior to her decision to leave, Townsend also served as the executive vice president of corporate affairs for two years.

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

Jen Brewer, Activision Blizzard’s senior vice president of ethics and compliance, will fill Townsend’s role alongside Luci Altman, the senior vice president of corporate governance.

Before Activision Blizzard, Townsend was a counter-terrorism adviser to U.S. President George W. Bush’s White House and a general council for MacAndrews & Forbes.

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Adam Bankhurst is a news writer for IGN. You can follow him on Twitter @AdamBankhurst and on Twitch.





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