Serge Hascoët has resigned as Ubisoft’s chief creative officer after weeks of damning accounts of sexual misconduct throughout the company’s various studios, according to a Saturday evening press release. Yannis Mallat, the powerful head of Ubisoft’s Canadian studios, is also out effective immediately, as is the company’s global head of human resources Cécile Cornet.
Hascoët was the most senior creative force at Ubisoft during his decades-long tenure, responsible for overseeing every aspect of creative production on series like Rayman, Assassin’s Creed, and The Division. A recent report from French newspaper Libération publicized allegations of enabling misconduct by high-level executives like François, who was considered Hascoët’s right-hand man.
The position of chief creative officer will be filled by Guillemot in the interim.
Mallat, who has been the head of Ubisoft Montreal since 2006 and oversaw the rest of the company’s presence in Canada, is out following the numerous allegations of misconduct that have plagued his studios, most specifically Ubisoft Toronto as Kotaku reported last week.
These developments follow weeks of Ubisoft employees speaking out against behavior in the company and a day before Ubisoft Forward, the publisher’s big digital showcase to promote all of its upcoming games.
On July 2, CEO Yves Guillemot promised to “revise the composition” of the editorial department in response to allegations of misconduct against vice presidents Maxime Béland and Tommy François. A day later, Béland resigned and François was placed on disciplinary leave.
The following week, Kotaku spoke to a dozen former and current Ubisoft Toronto employees, including a woman who said Béland put his hands around her neck at a company party, about these allegations. These conversations painted a picture of rampant harassment, abuse, and assault within the company.
“The way the studio—HR and management—disregards complaints just enables this behavior from men,” one employee told Kotaku.
Cornet, also according to Libération, has been accused of inadequately responding to the allegations as head of human relations. Ubisoft is currently looking for a replacement, and will be “restructuring and strengthening” its HR department.
Hascoët and Cornet did not comment on Libération’s most recent report.
In a company-wide letter obtained by Kotaku, Guillemot personally informed employees about the situation.
In my last message to you, I laid out a series of initiatives that are guiding us as we begin making significant changes within Ubisoft. I also committed to looking across our entire organization, at all levels and geographies, to determine where and how we have fallen short in our guarantee to provide a safe and inclusive workplace environment for all of you. Over the past few weeks, I have been engaged in this rigorous review, and today I want to let you know of some important personnel changes that are a part of reshaping the way we work together.
Serge Hascoët has chosen to resign from his position as Chief Creative Officer, effective immediately. Serge’s decision comes after in-depth discussions we have had together. Following these conversations, I believe, and Serge agrees, that now is the right time for a change. I will take on the CCO role temporarily as we work to define and organize the leadership of the Editorial Department. During this time, I will also personally oversee a complete overhaul of the way in which this team works. My goal is to create an inclusive and open culture that embraces more diverse and multidisciplinary expertise. I will communicate more details about these changes in due course.
Yannis Mallat, Managing Director of Ubisoft’s Canadian studios, will be stepping down from his role and will leave the Company effective immediately. The recent allegations that have come to light in Canada against multiple employees make it impossible for him to continue in this position.
Additionally, I will be appointing a new Global Head of HR to replace Cécile Cornet, who has decided that it is in the best interest of the company’s unity for her to step down from her role as Global Head of HR. This search will begin immediately, and we will be working with an industry-leading firm to identify the right person. We need to strengthen our HR function, restructure it further and adapt it to the new challenges of our industry. In doing this, we will better serve and support you. We are hiring a top international management consulting firm to audit and reshape our HR procedures and policies.
Toxic behaviors are unacceptable and are in direct contrast to values on which I have never compromised — and never will. As we collectively embark on a path leading to a better Ubisoft, it is my expectation that every leader across this organization manages their teams with the utmost respect. I also expect them to work to drive the change we need, always thinking of what is best for all of you and for Ubisoft.