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Ubisoft executives step down as gaming giant moves to address harassment claims

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Jul 12, 2020

A week after announcing a series of sweeping company-wide steps it would take to address recent allegations of workplace sexual harassment amid a new emphasis on openness, inclusion, and diversity, Ubisoft has reportedly parted ways with two of its top executives.

The Los Angeles Times reported Saturday that chief creative officer Serge Hascoët had resigned effective immediately, as well as Yannis Mallat, the managing director of the company’s Canadian studios. “The recent allegations that have come to light in Canada against multiple employees make it impossible for him [Mallat] to continue in this position,” Ubisoft said in a statement quoted by LAT.

Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot will reportedly take over the role vacated by Hascoët. The company also said it will look for a new global leader for its human resources division, following the departure of former HR head Cécile Cornet, whom LAT reports is also stepping down.

Earlier this month, Guillemot issued a sweeping, public-facing memo to all Ubisoft employees that addressed a spate of recent sexual misconduct claims against some company leaders, including Tommy Francois and Maxime Beland, vice presidents in the company’s global game development division, who both were placed on leave. That news came in the wake of sexual misconduct allegations against former Assassin’s Creed Valhalla creative director Ashraf Ismail, who was placed on leave in June following claims that he concealed his marital status during a relationship with Twitch streamer Dani Porter Bridges in order to continue a year-long relationship with her.

In the memo, Guillemot pledged a culture change within the company, and introduced new measures aimed at opening lines of communication to empower all employees to make their voices heard. Among other changes, those include the creation of a new Head of Diversity and Inclusion position, to be filled by an executive who will report directly to the CEO, as well as establishing a new, confidential alert platform administered by a third party to enable Ubisoft employees worldwide to report alleged harassment, discrimination, “and other inappropriate behaviors, including those that infringe on our Code of Fair Conduct,” Guillemot wrote.

The changes come amid a busy gaming season for Ubisoft, which held a high-profile online event Sunday to update fans on the progress of several highly-anticipated games in development, including Assassin’s Creed Valhalla, Watch Dogs: Legion, and Far Cry 6.

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