Controversial Activision Blizzard executive Frances Townsend steps down

Townsend will continue to advise CEO Bobby Kotick

Frances Townsend has stepped down from the role of Activision Blizzard‘s chief compliance officer.

In a company email sent out on Thursday (September 29), CEO Bobby Kotick announced staff that Townsend would be stepping down from her position after less than two years at the Call Of Duty publisher (via The Wall Street Journal).

“She [Frances Townsend] tirelessly and successfully navigated a challenging time for the Company with leadership, conviction, and grace,” wrote Kotick in the email. Despite leaving her position, Townsend will continue as an official advisor to Kotick and to Activision Blizzard’s board of directors.


Activision Blizzard spokesperson Rich George went on to provide Kotaku with a copy of the company email, which further detailed Townsend’s departure and explained that the company is moving closer to completing the merger with Microsoft.

Her role will be taken over by the current senior vice president of ethics and compliance, Jen Brewer, who will be promoted to chief ethics and compliance officer after being at the company for 10 years.

Activision office. Credit: Smith Collection/Gado/Getty Images.

Prior to joining Activision Blizzard as chief compliance officer, Townsend served as the assistant for homeland security and counterterrorism to President George W. Bush.

Following the reports of misconduct allegations at Activision Blizzard and the lawsuit filed by the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing, Townsend responded by denying the allegations in an email to staff which prompted backlash within the company.

“A recently filed lawsuit presented a distorted and untrue picture of our company, including factually incorrect, old, and out-of-context stories – some from more than a decade ago,” an excerpt reads.


In other news, a cancelled 2001 Dune game has finally been released under the new name Elland: The Crystal Wars.