Johanna Faries Named President of Blizzard Post-Ybarra


Blizzard Entertainment is welcoming a new era with the appointment of Johanna Faries as its President, taking the helm at the renowned game company known for iconic titles like “World of Warcraft” and “Overwatch.” Faries, whose ascendancy in the gaming world has been nothing short of remarkable, steps into her new role following the recent departure of Mike Ybarra during Microsoft’s larger streamlining efforts that saw nearly 1,900 positions eliminated. But while these layoffs cast a somber tone across the industry, Faries’ promotion represents a beacon of evolution for Blizzard, especially as she transitions from her former impactful role in the Call of Duty franchise.

Starting Monday, February 5th, Faries will officially begin her tenure as President, bringing with her not only her vast experience in the gaming sector but also her multifaceted background from the world of traditional sports. Before she revolutionized Activision Blizzard’s approach to esports as the Commissioner of the Call of Duty League, Johanna Faries was a high-profile executive at the NFL. There, she played a significant role in shaping the business strategies of the United States’ premier football league. Her leadership and innovative mindset earned her a spot on Sports Illustrated’s list of the most influential and outstanding women in sports – a testament to her capacity to drive transformation and growth.

With Microsoft’s monumental $69 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard, changes were inevitable, signaling a potentially exciting shift in the industry landscape. The corporate giant has started to rearrange the pieces on the chessboard, with Blizzard gaining fresh leadership while saying goodbye to some of its long-standing figures. These adjustments are poised to infuse the company with new energy and direction as it seeks to continue delivering world-class gaming experiences under Microsoft’s vast umbrella.

In a heartfelt email to her new team, available on the Blizzard website, Faries expressed mixed feelings in the wake of the restructuring, acknowledging both the pain of losing talented colleagues and her genuine excitement about guiding Blizzard into its next phase. She recognized the challenges ahead but seemed optimistic about what they could accomplish together.

Faries’ rise to the top echelons of the gaming world underscores the industry’s dynamic nature, demonstrating how effective leaders can emerge from diverse backgrounds to influence digital and interactive entertainment. As she embarks on this journey with Blizzard, an impassioned gaming community and industry observers alike are watching with keen interest. Faries’ story is one of tenacity and vision, and her leadership at Blizzard Entertainment anticipates driving the company towards an innovative and prosperous future.

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