In the wake of Mike Ybarra’s exit from Blizzard last week, the company has now found its new leader, with Call of Duty General Manager, Johanna Faries, making the step up to oversee all things Diablo 4, World of Warcraft, and more.
Ybarra took on the role of president back in 2021, and oversaw the development of hits such as Diablo 4 and Overwatch 2. But, with Microsoft acquiring Blizzard in a $68 billion deal in October of last year, changes were bound to happen. The company was shook from top to bottom with a number of recent layoffs, and Ybarra stepped down from his position on Thursday January 25.
Now, Johanna Faries is taking on the huge responsibility of running the game developer behind some of the best PC games of all time. Faries joined Activision in 2018 as the head of Call of Duty esports, before stepping up to become General Manager in August 2021.
On her new role, Faries shared an announcement on Twitter, with a message reading: “I [join Blizzard] so humbly and in awe of all that Blizzard has stood for and delivered to the world for over thirty years. Today also brings some mixed emotions. 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.”
Discussing her aims for the future, Faries added: “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.”
With Faries leaving a sizeable hole behind her, Matt Cox has been named the new SVP and General Manager of Call of Duty. Cox has previously worked on titles such as Guitar Hero, Skylanders, Destiny, Call of Duty, and most recently held the role of VP of Product for Call of Duty.
For more from Blizzard, check out our Diablo 4 review and our guide to the Diablo 4 builds and Diablo 4 classes. You can also dive into our list of the best World of Warcraft addons, or explore the best action-adventure games on the market.