Blizzard names former Disney executive Jessica Martinez as company’s first VP, head of culture

Jon Yelenic, Friday, May 6th, 2022 5:06 pm

Blizzard Entertainment announced on Thursday that former Disney executive Jessica Martinez has been appointed as the company’s first VP, head of culture. In this new role, Martinez will work alongside Blizzard leadership to develop the company’s culture as part of an initiative to “create a more diverse, equitable, and inclusive workplace culture.”

“Jessica and the Blizzard leadership team will be responsible for growing and implementing our culture strategy, ensuring alignment across all teams and functions, and revamping learning and talent development programs,” the company said. “Jessica will lead the learning and development team, while working closely with communications, events, and each of the franchise and functional leaders.”

The developer also claimed that Martinez would lead various initiatives designed to “ensure [Blizzard’s] values are reflected in [the company’s] day-to-day operations.”

“Making the values of our connections show up in what we do is how we bring humanity back to business,” Martinez said. “When you create a people-first environment where teams feel safe, valued, and work together toward a shared purpose, everyone thrives.”

Before coming on board at Blizzard, Martinez worked at Disney for about 14 years. During that time, she served as the chief of staff to The Walt Disney Company’s chief security officer, and later filled a similar role reporting to the chief technology officer of Disney Parks, Experiences and Products. 

Martinez’s hiring seems to be the latest development in Blizzard’s efforts to course-correct following the company’s sexual harassment scandal last year. In July 2021, the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) filed a lawsuit against Activision Blizzard–Blizzard’s parent company–that detailed many instances of sexual harassment and gender discrimination alleged to have taken place at Blizzard. 

In the months following the lawsuit, former Blizzard head J. Allen Brack resigned from the company, leaving Mike Ybarra and Jen Oneal to serve in his stead. However, just three months later, Oneal herself stepped down. It was later reported that her compensation as co-lead of the studio was less than Ybarra’s-her male counterpart–and that Activision Blizzard rejected multiple requests to pay them both the same amount. 

Since the lawsuit’s filing, both Blizzard and its parent company have faced much scrutiny from the video game industry at large, with much of it aimed toward Activision Blizzard CEO Bobby Kotick. Activision Blizzard was also hit with a fresh lawsuit this past week filed by New York City officials. © 2024 | All Rights Reserved.