Blizzard's New Era: Johanna Faries Takes the Helm as President Amidst Turbulent Times

Amidst a challenging period for Blizzard Entertainment, the company has appointed Johanna Faries, former Call of Duty general manager, as the new President of Blizzard Entertainment. Following the abrupt departure of former lead Mike Ybarra, Faries steps into the role as the first woman to hold the position at Blizzard.

Ybarra's resignation closely followed a significant wave of layoffs across Microsoft's gaming divisions, impacting Activision Blizzard and resulting in the elimination of over 1,900 positions, including some from Blizzard's customer service team. This series of layoffs occurred alongside the departure of Blizzard co-founder Allen Adham. With shifts in leadership under both Activision and Microsoft, Blizzard faced a challenging month for the gaming industry.

On January 29, Microsoft announced Johanna Faries as the new president of Blizzard Entertainment. Faries, renowned for her role as the former general manager of the Call of Duty franchise, brings with her a wealth of experience, having spent 12 years in various marketing and business roles at the National Football League (NFL). Commencing her duties on February 5, Faries addressed the January layoffs at Microsoft in an email to Blizzard staff, emphasizing the distinct nature of Activision, Blizzard, and King as separate entities with diverse perspectives and expectations. Faries expressed her commitment to collaborating with Blizzard's leadership team during this transitional period.

Blizzard's New Era: Johanna Faries Takes the Helm as President Amidst Turbulent Times 1

Johanna Faries at a Glance:

Beyond her roles in Call of Duty and esports, Faries revealed her personal interest in games such as Diablo 4 and Baldur's Gate 3. As part of Microsoft's overarching restructuring of gaming studios and acquisitions, Faries will collaborate with key executives, including Microsoft Gaming CEO Phil Spencer and Xbox Game Studios lead Matt Booty. Taking the reins amidst ongoing developments in World of Warcraft and Diablo 4, Faries' potential impact on the newly-formed Overwatch Championship Series remains a matter of anticipation.


January brought a roller-coaster ride for Blizzard Entertainment, marked by the cancellation of its survival game and significant leadership changes. The future trajectory under Faries and the Blizzard team is a story yet to unfold.