Exit number two, the HR director and the head of the Canadian unit: the French video game publisher Ubisoft, at the heart of a scandal of aggression and harassment, announced a spectacular reshuffle of its management and promised " major changes in its corporate culture. "
The departures "follow a rigorous review that the company conducted in response to recent allegations and accusations of misconduct and inappropriate behavior," said Ubisoft in a statement released Saturday night.
Specifically, number two "Serge Hascoët has chosen to resign from his post as + Chief creative officer +, with immediate effect. This role will be assumed in the interim by Yves Guillemot, CEO of Ubisoft," said the company, which announced on June 26 that it will investigate allegations of violence and harassment against executives in several countries.
"Ubisoft has not been able to guarantee its employees a safe and inclusive working environment," regretted Mr. Guillemot, quoted in the press release issued early Sunday morning.
"It is not acceptable. All toxic behavior is in total opposition to the values with which I have never compromised and with which I will not compromise," said the leader.
Mr. Guillemot "will personally oversee a complete overhaul of the collaboration mode of creative teams", promised Ubisoft, which among its successful franchises, counts the series "Assassin's Creed", "Far Cry", "Rayman" or "The Crew ".
In the present case, "Yannis Mallat, director of the Ubisoft Canadian studios, leaves office and the Company with immediate effect. The recent allegations made in Canada against many employees do not allow him to continue to assume his responsibilities ", detailed the company.
In addition, "Ubisoft will appoint a new human resources manager, to replace Cécile Cornet, who has decided to resign from this position, in the interest of the group's unity".
The company, which has 18,000 employees worldwide, including 22% women, "has also decided to restructure and strengthen the" human resources function and will "audit and improve its procedures and policies" in this area, it insured.
- Many testimonies -
The departures of Mr. Hascoët and Mrs. Cornet had been demanded on Saturday by the trade union section Solidaires Informatique of Ubisoft, in an online leaflet containing testimonies of employees who appeared in particular in the Saturday edition of the French daily Liberation.
By the end of June, such anonymous testimony from Ubisoft employees or ex-employees had appeared on Twitter, targeting executives from studios in Toronto and Montreal, but also in Brazil, Bulgaria and the United States, and concerning sometimes facts dating back several years.
An ex-employee explained that a colleague had asked her for a blowjob during a party while she was still working at her office, others reported that such a creative director of the Montreal studio had "licked the face" of a employee at a company party.
On July 4, Mr. Guillemot announced the resignation of a vice-president and the layoff of another for "inappropriate behavior", after having promised the day before a "structural change" within the company.
"I am more than ever determined to implement profound changes to improve and strengthen our corporate culture," swore the CEO on Sunday.
"I expect all the managers of the Group to support their teams with the utmost respect. I also expect them to strive to lead this necessary change, with the main line of action being better for Ubisoft and all its collaborators ", concluded Mr. Guillemot.
Ubisoft suffered a net loss of 126 million euros during its staggered financial year 2019-2020, due in particular to an impairment of assets in mobile gaming, on a turnover of 1.6 billion euros, in fall of 14% over one year.
The group has displayed its caution for the current year against the background of a health crisis, although an increase in the practice of players has been observed in countries that have confined their populations.
© 2020 AFP