Blizzard Entertainment introduces new president, Johanna Faries

Blizzard Entertainment has revealed Johanna Faries as its incoming president, following the departure of Mike Ybarra.
johanna faries blizzard entertainment

Blizzard Entertainment has announced the appointment of its new president, Johanna Faries, following the departure of company veteran Mike Ybarra. Faries first joined Activision Blizzard in 2018, working within Activision’s Call of Duty esports division, and later served as the franchise’s general manager.

In a public statement, Faries has acknowledged her role at Activision, and that each company under the Activision Blizzard banner is different, with their own dynamics and quirks. She comes into the role with a “deep respect” for Blizzard and major hopes for the future, following a recent round of layoffs which impacted a significant number of staff.

“Today … brings some mixed emotions,” Faries said of her appointment. “The loss of talented teammates in recent days is hard to hold side-by-side with the immense excitement I feel about joining Blizzard – and building on the momentum you’ve created for Blizzard’s next chapter.”

Read: Microsoft lays off 1,900 workers at Xbox, Activision Blizzard and ZeniMax

“Activision, Blizzard, and King are decidedly different companies with distinct games, cultures, and communities. It is important to note that Call of Duty’s way of waking up in the morning to deliver for players can often differ from the stunning games in Blizzard’s realm: each with different gameplay experiences, communities that surround them, and requisite models of success.”

“I’ve discussed this with the Blizzard leadership team and I’m walking into this role with sensitivity to those dynamics, and deep respect for Blizzard, as we begin to explore taking our universes to even higher heights. I am committed to doing everything I can to help Blizzard thrive, with care and consideration for you and for our games, each unique and special in their own right. I’m optimistic about our ability to serve our current and future player communities, and to further amplify the shared passion for greatness, polish, and creative mastery that is a hallmark of Blizzard’s approach to game-making.”

Faries has committed to “meet-and-greets” with as many Blizzard staff as possible in the coming weeks, in an effort to bridge the leadership gap. She’s also shared more about her personal circumstances – she’s a mother of two who enjoys yoga, video games and prayer – to better introduce herself and her priorities.

“I remain inspired by Blizzard’s iconic legacy, and the transformative role gaming has played in my life and in the lives of others,” Faries said. “I cannot wait to get going – to listen, to learn, to empower, and to collaborate with all of you on our bold and bright future together. Together, may we forge many legendary days ahead.”

We’re likely to hear more from Faries in the coming weeks, as she settles into her new role.

Leah J. Williams is a gaming and entertainment journalist who's spent years writing about the games industry, her love for The Sims 2 on Nintendo DS and every piece of weird history she knows. You can find her tweeting @legenette most days.