Ubisoft CEO promises 'structural shift' to address workplace toxicity

(Image credit: Ubisoft)

A little over a week after Ubisoft said that it is "looking very closely" into allegations of sexual abuse and misconduct made against multiple employees, CEO Yves Guillemot has issued a public statement promising changes including a shakeup of the editorial deparment, a "transformation" of its human resources processes, and better accountability among managers.

"The situations that some of you have experienced or witnessed are absolutely not acceptable," Guillemot wrote. "No one should ever feel harassed or disrespected at work, and the types of inappropriate behavior we have recently learned about cannot and will not be tolerated. To those of you who have spoken up or have supported colleagues, I want to be clear: you are heard, and you are helping drive necessary change within the company. 

"We have significant work to do to improve the ways in which we operate and collaborate, and I am personally committed to ensuring we make these fundamental changes. They need to be profound, and we need to implement them quickly at all levels of the organization."

Guillemot said that Ubisoft is looking to make a "structural shift" away from toxic behaviors. To help push that forward, he has appointed Lidwine Sauer, formerly a projects director in Ubisoft's Strategic Innovation Lab, as Head of Workplace Culture. Sauer, who will report directly to Guillemot, "is empowered to examine all aspects of our company’s culture and to suggest comprehensive changes that will benefit all of us."

Ubisoft will also hold a series of "listening sessions" across all its locations, moderated by external parties, will create and launch a global, anonymous survey, will employ an external consulting firm to review and and improve its procedures and policies, and is creating a new Head of Diversity and Inclusion management position, which will also report directly to Guillemot.

As for the claims against some of its employees, which include accusations of sexual assault, Guillemot said that investigations by external agencies are still underway.

"I know that many of you are eager to hear the results of these investigations," he wrote. "However, we must take the time necessary to ensure that they are carried out with the required rigor. When they are concluded, all appropriate actions will be taken. Should additional allegations or claims be brought to our attention, we will fully investigate those, as well."

Ubisoft has also set up a confidential online platform, administered by Whispli, that will enable employees and "external individuals" to report harassment and other inappropriate behavior. Complaints will be reviewed by a committee made up of a CSR (corporate social responsibility) committee and legal experts.

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.