Ubisoft top managers resign over 'toxic behaviour' allegations

Jill Petzinger
·Germany Correspondent, Yahoo Finance UK
Gaming fans play Ubisoft games at the 2019 Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles, California, US, on 11 June 2019. Photo: Frederic J Brown/AFP via Getty Images
Gaming fans play Ubisoft games at the 2019 Electronic Entertainment Expo in Los Angeles, California, US, on 11 June 2019. Photo: Frederic J Brown/AFP via Getty Images

French game developer Ubisoft (UBI.PA) has replaced a number of its top executives in a move to overhaul the company’s culture in the wake of allegations of misconduct and inappropriate behaviour.

In a statement on Sunday (12 July), Ubisoft said chief creative officer Serge Hascoët had resigned immediately.

Hascoët, who was the second-in-command at the company, will be replaced on an interim basis by chief executive and co-founder Yves Guillemot, who will oversee an overhaul of the creative teams.

Ubisoft shares fell by over 7% in early trading on the news.

Ubisoft shares. Chart: Yahoo Finance
Ubisoft shares. Chart: Yahoo Finance

Ubisoft launched an investigation last month after a number of employees made anonymous allegations of sexual harassment and mistreatment by managers.

The managing director of Ubisoft’s Canadian studios, Yannis Mallat, has also been removed from his role.

“Recent allegations that have come to light in Canada against multiple employees make it impossible for him to continue in this position,” Ubisoft said.

“Ubisoft has fallen short in its obligation to guarantee a safe and inclusive workplace environment for its employees,” Guillemot said in the press statement.

“This is unacceptable, as toxic behaviours are in direct contrast to values on which I have never compromised — and never will,” he added.

Global HR boss Cécile Cornet has also resigned, and a search is on for her replacement, as well as an audit of its HR department procedures and policies.

Ubisoft, which employs 18,000 staff, is one of the biggest game-publishers in the world, and maker the hugely successful Assassin’s Creed game. The disclaimer in its Assassin’s Creed Unity game says it “was designed, developed and produced by a multicultural team of various religious faiths and beliefs.”

Guillemot said he was “committed to implementing profound changes across the company to improve and strengthen our workplace culture.”