Blizzard is going through another big change this year, as Mike Morhaime, studio co-founder, is stepping down. Morhaime worked at Blizzard for 27 years but will be departing this year, with WoW executive producer, J. Allen Brack set to take over as president.
Morhaime will no longer be leading Blizzard but he will remain involved as a ‘strategic advisor'. Morhaime is the third high-profile departure for Blizzard over the last two years. Back in 2016, the studio's lore keeper, Chris Metzen, retired. In addition to that, Hearthstone creator, Ben Brode, left to start up a new studio earlier this year.
Morhaime announced his stepping down in a statement released last night: “After many years of working with some of the industry’s most talented people to create games and worlds for you to play in, I’ve decided it’s time for someone else to lead Blizzard Entertainment. I will now serve as an advisor to the company I so love and admire. My duties as president of Blizzard will be assumed by my friend, colleague, trusted advisor, and longtime steward of World of Warcraft, J. Allen Brack.”
“J. is an inspiring leader who has shown unwavering commitment to Blizzard’s community in his 12 years with the company. His leadership on World of Warcraft leveraged his vision, creativity, and commitment to quality, and together with the rest of the dev team helped deliver an experience that is unprecedented in our industry. I couldn’t be happier for J. and know that Blizzard will continue to make great games with him at the helm.”
Brack also issued his own statement, expressing gratitude towards Morhaime for being a mentor and a friend along the way. As we move into the future, two new additions are heading to Blizzard's leadership team:
“As I transition from leading a development team to the entire company, I’ll also have the support of our team of experienced leaders at Blizzard. I’m pleased to announce two additions to our executive leadership team who will be instrumental as we move forward. Ray Gresko, a 10-year veteran of Blizzard who helped create both Overwatch and Diablo III, is now our chief development officer. Allen Adham, Blizzard’s original founder and lead designer of World of Warcraft, will join the executive team while continuing to oversee development of several new games. The knowledge and experience that Ray and Allen bring, in addition to the talent already on the leadership team, will be indispensable in helping move Blizzard into the future.”
KitGuru Says: Morhaime has led Blizzard since 2004 and has been working at the studio for 27 years since its inception. It'll be sad to see him go, but this is also an exciting opportunity to see what the future holds for Blizzard as it continues to experiment with new games and ideas.