Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot has disclosed an internal letter for change following multiple allegations of workplace harassment and misconduct.
Guillemot stated “we are not looking for a quick fix” to address Ubisoft’s toxic behavior among staff, while outlining a few steps to bring a structural change to the company across all of its branches worldwide.
Internally, Ubisoft’s changes include appointing Head of Workplace Culture Lidwine Sauer to hold departments accountable after she reportedly volunteered to do so. Sauer was already the company’s Project’s Director in their Strategic Innovations lab, but will work closely with Guillemot to study Ubisoft’s workplace culture. She will also be appointing other members to form a taskforce through other staff.
Ubisoft’s statement is also one of the latest to address widespread allegations following a recent wave of stories shared online. One of the largest resulted in Assassin’s Creed Valhalla creative director Ashraf Ismail stepping down from his role after being accused of cheating on his wife and hiding his marriage status.
“The lives of my family and my own are shattered,” Ismail tweeted late June. “There are hundreds of talented, passionate people striving to build an experience for you that do not deserve to be associated with this. I wish them all the best,” he added.
The company responded to Ismail’s statement with a “leave of absence” while its developers continue to work on Valhalla for its Holiday 2020 release.
Ismail was also among numerous other Ubisoft employees placed on leave, including two executives who were under allegations from former staff and employees who shared their stories online. This led the company to launch an internal investigation for all identified cases of harassment, abuse and sexual misconduct.
On June 23, a number of women had accused Ubisoft’s product and brand manager Andrien Gbinigie of using his power to sexually assault them at a PAX industry event. He later posted a response on Medium to deny the allegations before it was removed from the site.
In a June 25, 2020 letter, Ubisoft made an early statement to promise “creating an inclusive and safe environment” while admitting the company fell short on that aspect before.
Guillemot’s latest internal note gives employees sessions to speak out their concerns, with different groups being “moderated by different external facilitators.” He added the sessions for staff aren’t in a Q&A or town hall style, but follow informal meetings which have already happened.
Alongside the investigations, Ubisoft is also launching a survey for staff and the public to bring in feedback. The information would be collected for suggestions and more change. Guillemot also announced a new position for Head of Diversity and Inclusion to report directly to him while overseeing steps for BIPOC workplaces and hiring practices.