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October 21, 2020
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Ubisoft exec Tommy Francois departs after misconduct allegations

Ubisoft exec Tommy Francois departs after misconduct allegations

August 3, 2020 | By Chris Kerr

Ubisoft editorial vice president Tommy Francois has left the company after being accused of workplace misconduct. 

A company spokesperson confirmed the news to Gamasutra, but declined to comment further when asked if Francois had resigned or been dismissed as a result of an investigation. 

It's been just over a month since Francois was reportedly placed on disciplinary leave after being accused of abusing employees and enabling further misconduct. 

Francois' fellow editorial vice president Maxime Beland also departed Ubisoft at the beginning of July following a number of sexual harassment and assault allegations. 

Meanwhile, three high-profile members of the company's executive team including chief creative officer Serge Hascoet, Ubisoft Montreal chief exec Yannis Mallat, and chief talent and communications officer Cecile Cornet all recently resigned for either enabling or perpetrating abuse

Notably, Ubisoft described those three departures as "voluntary" rather then outright dismissals. That seems to be the trend as the company looks to reshape its toxic culture following a spate of abuse, harassment, and misconduct allegations that preceded the departures of other employees like Assassin's Creed Valhalla director Ashraf Ismail and associate public relations director Stone Chin.

After we reported on those allegations, multiple anonymous sources spoke to Gamasutra about how the company has enabled a culture of abuse and control that allowed sexual harassment, abuse, racism, and homophobia to take root and flourish.

Addressing the situation, Ubisoft CEO Yves Guillemot said he would oversee "profound changes" to improve and strengthen the corporate culture, including hiring independent consultants to investigate misconduct allegations, overhauling the HR and editorial departments, and appointing new heads of workplace culture and diversity and inclusion. 

Those on the inside, however, expressed concern that Ubisoft would pursue a "razzle dazzle" response that would only serve to root out the accused without addressing the systemic issues that permeate the studio.

"Very few trust our processes or the people in charge of solving the issues. Both Tommy and Maxime were open secrets, and there are so many yet to be outed," explained one current staffer, speaking to Gamasutra earlier this year.

"Until we see the company act on people like this without a victim coming forward publicly, I have no trust it’s not just a show designed to protect our image."

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