Ubisoft CEO Promises "Profound Changes" at Company After Accounts of Systemic Abuse

Ubisoft CEO Promises "Profound Changes" at Company After Accounts of Systemic Abuse

Yves Guillemot says Ubisoft is "not looking for a quick fix" to its reportedly toxic culture.

After initially assuring employees that he would "personally follow" each of the many harassment and abuse allegations that have rocked the company in recent days, Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot has issued an expanded statement on the matter. In a new letter by Guillemot, shared internally before being published publicly, he outlines a number of actions the company is taking in order to ensure it makes "fundamental changes" in the interests of worker safety and diversity.

The new statement comes two days after VentureBeat published an internal letter penned by Guillemot. In it, Guillemot announced plans to create a multidisciplinary working group at Ubisoft (aided by an external partner) to address the kinds of issues raised in recent allegations, but did not offer much in the way of concrete action beyond that. Today's dispatch deals in more specifics.

Guillemot says that he has "decided to revise the composition of the Editorial Department, transform our human resource processes, and improve the accountability of all managers on these subjects." In pursuit of these goals, Guillemot has created and filled two new positions within Ubisoft whilst promising progress on solicitation of feedback, the handling of internal investigations, and a "comprehensive review" of Ubisoft's company policies and procedures.

Lidwine Sauer, a Projects Director in Ubisoft's Strategic Innovation Lab, has been appointed by Guillemot as Ubisoft's new Head of Workplace culture. She has, so far, been tasked with forming the working group Guillemot called for earlier in the week. Guillemot is also creating a new position for a Head of Diversity and Inclusion, which has not yet been filled.

With regards to the investigations launched in response to the allegations made against several Ubisoft employees, including Editorial Department executives Tommy François and Maxime Béland, Guillemot is not sharing any updates but assures that they will result in "appropriate" consequences.

I know that many of you are eager to hear the results of these investigations. However, we must take the time necessary to ensure that they are carried out with the required rigor. When they are concluded, all appropriate actions will be taken. Should additional allegations or claims be brought to our attention, we will fully investigate those, as well.

In a report published at Gamasutra yesterday, one current employee who wishes to remain anonymous alleges that Ubisoft's culture issues run "deeper and wider" than what prompted Ubisoft's initial response. Together, the accounts of current and former Ubisoft employees who came forward describe "a company that refuses to acknowledge the rampant issues that have affected so many of its employees," sustained for so long despite complaints and "open secrets" thanks to willful, unyielding ignorance and "mafia"-esque practices.

This industry-wide moment of reevaluation, which has seen hundreds of new stories surface concerning abuse and mistreatment at companies, gaming events, and online, appears to be far from over. At the very least, it seems that Ubisoft acknowledges that improving upon its abuse-plagued culture will not be a fast or easy process.

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Mathew Olson


Mathew Olson is a writer formerly of Digg, where he blogged and reported about all things under the umbrella of internet culture (including games, of course). He lives in New York, grew up under rain clouds and the influence of numerous games studios in the Pacific Northwest, and will talk your ear off about Half-Life mods, Talking Heads or Twin Peaks if you let him.

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