Activision Blizzard recruits a new chief diversity officer amid harassment scandal

Kristen Hines will be tasked with helping to increase the number of women and non-binary workers at the company.

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A collage of little over a dozen Activision Blizzard characters.
Activision Blizzard

Activision Blizzard has recruited a new chief diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) officer. Kristen Hines will join the company and its senior leadership team on April 25th. She will report to Julie Hodges, the company's chief people officer. Hines most recently led the Global DEI practice at Accenture, where she helped other organizations bolster their DEI strategies and capabilities.

One of Hines' key responsibilities will be to help Activision Blizzard meet its commitment to increase the percentage of women and non-binary people in the workforce by 50 percent over the next five years. In its representation data document for 2021, the company said women made up 24 percent of its workforce. Hines will also work with Activision Blizzard's gaming teams “to ensure diverse and inclusive perspectives are included in game design, including storylines, character development, gameplay and community interaction.”

"In an industry with historical underrepresentation, I’m looking forward to leading the company’s efforts to further build a workplace that values transparency, equity and inclusivity,” Hines said in a statement. “Gaming has amazing potential to connect communities around the world and showcase heroes from all backgrounds. I am looking forward to playing a part in expanding the landscape of talent who brings these compelling experiences to a broad base of players.”

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Hines will be tasked with helping improve the workplace culture of Activision Blizzard, which has been under intense scrutiny since last summer. The California Department of Fair Employment and Housing sued the company in July. It accused Activision Blizzard of fostering a "frat boy culture" and alleged there was discrimination against female employees. A wrongful death suit was filed against the publisher last month, as was a sexual harassment and discrimination lawsuit from an individual plaintiff.

Also in March, a judge approved a proposal by Activision Blizzard, which is the subject of a pending $68.7 billion takeover from Microsoft, to set up an $18 million fund to settle a federal lawsuit. The US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's suit accused the company of enabling a sexist and discriminatory workplace environment.

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