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Former Uber vice president joins Riot Games to clean up its discriminatory internal culture

Alongside an apology for recent revelations of discrimination, League of Legends developer Riot Games capped off August with a list of steps in order to reform its internal culture. The latest move in this effort is the hiring of leadership and strategy expert Frances Frei, who will now act as the senior advisor Riot’s executive and cultural strike team.

Frei cut her teeth at Wharton School located within the University of Pennsylvania, where she earned a Ph.D. in Operations and Information Management. From there, she climbed up to a senior vice president of leadership role within Uber, before taking a step back from the role while remaining as an advisor. During her time at Uber, she was credited for improving the company’s culture by inspiring inclusion despite self-admitting to her failure on bringing about “authenticity” within her TED Conference.

Naturally, Frei is a perfect fit for Riot as the developer attempts to rectify its publicly discussed discrimination. Kotaku conducted an eight-month long investigation into accusations of sexism, harassment and discrimination within Riot’s studio, revealing many of the flaws within an exposé released last month. Although fans have discussed the findings relentlessly, some in disbelief, senior staff acknowledged the problem and deemed it unacceptable and in need of change.

Riot then attempted to push towards a solution on its own, conducting female and non-binary-focused workshops during PAX West. This was met with criticism of its own, with Riot now accused of being sexist towards men. Two of its developers were subsequently fired when passionately defending the move on Twitter, cited to be in breach of Riot’s social media policy within each of their contracts. At this point, Riot realised that it needed help dealing with the situation.

After meeting with Riot’s CEO, president, COO, and co-founders, Frances begun her “intensive work” with the developer’s cultural transformation team. Riot expressed that it was “humbled” that Frei had chosen to work with the company, and that Rioters from all around the world could expect to meet her through educational and working sessions in the coming months.

“After spending time with Riot’s leadership and many others across the organization, it became clear that Riot is truly putting everything on the table and committing to evolving its culture. In my interactions with Rioters, I’ve seen extraordinary levels of engagement on these issues across the company. Every Rioter with whom I’ve met truly cares about inclusion, which means real change is possible,” Frei states.

“Riot isn’t interested simply in fixing problems on the surface, they have an ambition to be an industry leader and to provide a road map for others to follow. I share that ambition and am eager to help them navigate this process.”

KitGuru Says: Given her admitted limited success with Uber, it remains to be seen just how much change Frei can bring about for Riot Games. Given that all eyes are watching the very public debacle, there is certainly a lot of pressure on both Frei and Riot itself.

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